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High society pensions

Having just received a voting package from Nationwide, and considering the current talk about MPs’ final-salary pensions, I thought I should ask Nationwide what type of pension scheme they have, particularly for the chief executive Graham Beale.

Now, I thought that MPs had the most favourable defined-benefit pensions scheme in Britain but I was amazed to be told that for Mr Beale and two other of the Nationwide’s top executives, their scheme is on 30th accruals. Thirtieths!

Mr Beale apparently enjoys annual remuneration of some £650,000 and the transfer value of his pension increased to £4,053,000 from £2,879,000 as at year-end April 2009.

That is downright obscene, and only goes to show you how they are all on the gravy train as well.

Following on from the MPs’ expenses’ fiasco, I wonder if any of the building society and banking hierarchy have inappropriately claimed expenses? Perhaps you will investigate? Nationwide cleverly markets itself as being the most trusted savings provider, yet my member’s bond Isa interest has shrunk to 0.75 per cent per annum. If I moved it, I should be able to get 3 per cent per annum, this means I am, in effect, losing £16 per week. No wonder it can afford such blatantly generous pension benefits for its main directors.

I phoned them to try to arrange to change my Isa product but was told I have to go into the branch to do this and this is inconvenient as I am not now very mobile. Their chairman Geoffrey Howe apparently receives a cool £250,000 per year from Nationwide while also being chairman of Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group plc and a director of Investec plc.

Nationwide make a point about serving the community by getting involved with Shelter, Citizens Advice, education and the Nationwide Foundation and even make a virtue of the fact that for each vote cast at this year’s annual general meeting, they will donate 20p to Macmillan Cancer Support.

Now I am not against making donations, particularly for Cancer Research – and in fact have just made a donation to a local hospice, who kindly looked after a friend until his recent death – but Nationwide dress it up as if it is their money. I think it is about time that the Nationwide sham was blown open. What do you think?

Peter F Amott,

Aerobenefits Limited

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