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Review of 2004: Pensions

Panto season starts early in the House of Commons. Pensions minister Malcolm Wicks was writer and star turn in the shenanigans that surrounded the pension protection fund. “Will it be retrospective?” – “Oh yes it will”, “Oh no it won’t”.

You know the pension crisis is a major issue when the tabloids start launching crusades for justice. The year continued many of the usual cheery highlights expected these days such as the closure and/or failure of several DB schemes again making the headlines.

The extent of the malaise was revealed in the long-awaited Turner report published in October and although nothing new, its well articulated arguments hammered home the seriousness of the savings gap. One of the Government’s flagship policies intended to narrow the gap.

Stakeholder pensions looks to be dying a death by 1,000 cuts with Norwich Union, Scottish Equitable and Standard Life all slashing commission rates and launching non-stakeholder products in preparation for the basic advice regime.


Define time for critical cover

In recent weeks, new entrants have entered the critical-illness insurance market and some old players have returned. This has increased the number of companies offering reviewable and guaranteed rates.

Three days that shook the life offices

Industry relief that Chancellor Gordon Brown is extending consultation from the initial shock of just three working days on his planned raid on life fund policyholders’ savings will be short-lived, as the measures are set to come into force this January.

Sure bet

Making the most of a freebie award: Goes to freelance journalist Jenne Mannion who scooped winnings of 200 a time at consecutive junkets to Windsor Park races. At the Cazenove event, she backed winners in five of the six races.

Atlantic crossing

North Atlantic Value, part of the JO Hambro Group, is looking for up to £5m for a C share top-up issue for the leisure & media venture capital trust. This VCT was established in 2001 and initially raised £8.6m net of expenses. Current holdings include Nu Nu and Tomahawk pubs which have been individually accessible […]


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