At the time of writing, the general election is still a week away but by the time this magazine arrives on your desk it should be polling day.
ith the opinion polls still showing a genuine three-horse race, it would be foolish to try and make any predictions, so I’m not going to try.
But no matter who gets into power, there are several very pressing issues that any new government will have to get to grips with on the subject of pensions are retirement. As Otto Thoresen points out on page four, although the election campaign has been slightly underwhelming when it comes to promoting fresh ways to tackle various pension issues, the lack of new initiatives does nothing to remove the need for real pension reform. Demographic pressures, low levels of saving and limited public finances are not going to go away. Something will need to be done and it needs to be done soon rather than several more years down the line.
However, life continues to go on outside the general election. Increasing longevity, as Lee Jones points out, is not only putting pressure on public finances, it continues to have a real effect on personal retirement income in the form of ever-decreasing annuity rates.
It is not all doom and gloom, however. This week’s cover interview with John Moret charts the continued rise of the Sipp.
What was once a niche product has grown to be the pension of choice for many retirement savers today. Moret’s prediction in 1999 that there would be 500,000 Sipps by 2010 looked like a bold prediction at the time but has already been surpassed.
His new prediction, that there will be one million Sipps by 2015, is looking equally as bold. With the new restrictions on higher-rate tax relief, the new, higher annual Isa limit and FSA concerns about pension transfers, there are several potential barriers for further strong growth in the matter. But Moret is adamant that better technology can help continue to drive the growth in Sipps.
Regardless of who gets into power, IFAs and clients will continue to be able take charge of their savings and investments.
And with shrinking state support for old age combined with rising costs due to longevity, the imp-ortance of taking charge of your client’s retirement planning is only going to get more important.