Reading the back page of the July 19 edition of your paper took me back to when O’Halloran & Co were fined £10,000 for transferring an individual from the PIP Pension Scheme for printers into a personal pension. The transfer was done at the request of his managing director because the man had no living relatives, was a diabetic and all of his contributions were paying for Death Benefit, not providing him with a penny at retirement.
In those days the FSA had just come into being and was looking to make an impression with the media in particular: “Look at all these felons we found, up to dastardly deeds, but by God, we are sorting them out.”
And now, of course, the same regulator is ramping up the fines because once again it finds itself under scrutiny and needs to justify its existence.
It was on the back of our experience that I wrote “If Only Politicians Had Brains” back in 2000.
The front cover was designed by one of my clients, depicting Parliament paying through the nose and concentrating on irrelevances, rather than getting down to sorting out the real problem in the economy in 2001. Things do not change.
The turn of the century was not bathed in good omens. On rereading the book, little has changed apart from the names of the politicians whose love affair with the television camera and the snappy retort “pensions are a crap investment” (crap – acronym: Contrary to Recognised Actuarial Principles) which only aligns them more closely with a failed regulator.
Thank you for bringing back such good memories and for prompting me to reread my book.
Terence P O’Halloran
chartered financial planner