Before the proposed review of contracting out of Serps progresses any further, can we have a sensible debate about how contractingout advice is going to be measured? I believe, based on past experience, that any review would probably make the following assumptions:l That future Governments will never abolish or reduce the state benefits under Serps/S2P. l That if they do, all expected benefits accrued to the date of the change will be ring fenced or protected. l That the current economic conditions of low inflation/ low interest rates/low invest-ment returns are guaranteed to continue for ever. If these assumptions are used and turn out to be wrong, millions of policyholders and advisers will have been financially disadvantaged by the exercise. Can we get an assurance from all proposers of this review that they will hold themselves responsible for compensating everyone who might suffer financially if their assumptions turn out to be wrong? Could we also ask the current government and all other major parties to give categoric assurances that scenarios one and two will never happen? Expecting assumption three to be valid would be highly illogical. Any projections of the potential growth in protected rights funds should take this into account. Surely we can learn from previous misguided reviews? Can anyone honestly say that the ordinary man or woman in the street is better served by the current state of personal pensions and that no one suffered by being reinstated into a final-salary scheme which subsequently collapsed? Can anyone confirm that employees in general have benefited from the tightening up of the regulations of final-salary schemes? Can anyone prove that the millions of pounds of policyholder reserves handed out to endowment complainants are not having a negative impact on the ability of companies to declare future bonuses? Surely we cannot be heading for another exercise which will have unforeseen ramifications and is unlikely to serve the greater common good? Eric Warren Director, Warren Financial Services, Carluke, Lanarkshire
Group Self-Invested Personal Pension Plan
Two arrivals into the competitive UK mortgage market have adopted diametrically different strategies. Edeus is a 100 per cent intermediary business and its USP is service rather than price, with a fee being charged for quicker service. Ing is a 100 per cent direct-to-consumer business and its USP is pricing, not necessarily in interest rates but in respect of fees, with an emphasis on no exit fee.
Norwich Union claims its strong sales figures in the UK in the first nine months are largely down to improved service standards. Parent group Aviva figures show total worldwide sales rose 22 per cent to £22,718m from £18,601m in the same period last year. NU’s UK life and pension business grew by 31 per cent […]
Fidelity has launched its global special situations fund. which was formed from the division of Anthony Bolton’s Fidelity special situations fund.
By Steve Webb, director of policy The British obsession with homeownership can have dangerous consequences. A recent survey by Barings¹ found that up to three million people of working age were planning to rely wholly on the value of their home to fund their retirement. We are not talking about people investing in buy-to-let or […]
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Royal Bank of Scotland has joined rivals like HSBC in launching an automated investment advice service for more than five million customers. The bank claims to be the first bank in the UK to launch a “fully regulated” robo-advice service, which will be under its NatWest brand. The service, live from Monday, is targeted at […]
There is nearly £8.5bn in “drifted” legacy UK equity income funds that have underperformed against the sector over the past decade, research has found. As the fund management industry awaits Mifid II next year, Morningstar has analysed the competitive UK Equity Income sector on behalf of Money Marketing and found about 10 per cent of the sector’s […]
Old Mutual Global Investors has appointed Freddie Woolfe head of responsible investment and stewardship, reporting into chief executive Richard Buxton. Woolfe joins from Newton Investment Management, where he was a responsible investment analyst primarily covering the healthcare and technology, media and telecommunications sectors. Previously he held roles at Hermes Equity Ownership Services and HSBC. Woolfe will […]