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Welfare Reform on the Web (September 1999): Pensions - UK

BILL WILL FORCE LIFE ASSURERS TO BLOW WHISTLE

R. Miles
Times, May 27th 1999, p. 52

Life assurance companies will be forced to blow the whistle on employers who fail to make timely contributions to group private pensions under the Welfare Reform and Pensions Bill.

FINANCIAL SERVICES AND INVESTMENT MARKETS IN A LOW INFLATIONARY ENVIRONMENT: A DISCUSSION PAPER

P. J. Nowell and others
London: Institute of Actuaries, 1999

In a low inflationary environment, a man aged 45 should be saving 2.5 times more each year than his 20-years-older predecessor if he is to retire on the same real pension. Even this increase ignores the impact of future mortality improvements. This is a direct consequence of lower assumed returns on equities and index-linked gilts.

LET THE RICH FOLKS PAY FOR THE POOR FOLKS PENSIONS

P. Toynbee
Guardian, June 30th 1999, p. 16

Argues that low earners should trust to the government's promised minimum income guarantee and not attempt to save for retirement during their working lives through either a stakeholder pension or the government's proposed second state pension.

PRU AXING 4,000 TO PREPARE FOR STAKEHOLDER CHALLENGE

C. Brown-Humes
Financial Times, June 18th 1999, p. 1

Prudential Corp is to cut 4,000 back office jobs (a fifth of the UK workforce) to prepare for the low cost era of stakeholder pensions.

(See also Independent, June 18th 1999, p. 18)

STAKEHOLDER PENSIONS: EMPLOYER ACCESS: THE GOVERNMENT'S PROPOSALS

Department of Social Security
London: 1999 (Consultation brief; 2)

Proposes that all employees earning above the NI lower limit should have access to a stakeholder pension scheme if no occupational scheme is offered. Group personal pensions which meet certain standards could also exempt employers. Employees must be able to join an occupational scheme within six months of starting work in order for the employer to be exempt. However, individuals should be limited to changes in contributions through payroll at three month intervals to keep down costs to employers.

STAKEHOLDER PENSIONS: MINIMUM STANDARDS: THE GOVERNMENT'S PROPOSALS

Department of Social Security
London: 1999 (Consultation brief; 1)

Proposes that there should be a single percentage charge on the value of the fund to cover all normal operating costs. The total charge should be limited to 1% per annum. It should include costs of basic explanation and advice. Minimum contributions should be no higher than £10.00, either for regular or one-off contributions, and there should be no minimum frequency of contributions.

STAKEHOLDER PENSIONS ATTACKED

C. Merrell and P. Hawkins
Times, June 3rd 1999, p. 27

The life insurance industry has attacked government plans to cap the annual management charge on stakeholder pensions at 1% as unrealistic. Companies, rather than suffer a fall in profits, may cut the level of commission paid to salesmen and independent financial advisers. Customers would not be offered advice about the product they are buying.

(See also Guardian, June 7th 1999, p. 20)

STAKEHOLDER PENSIONS HERALD AN END TO 'LIFE' AS WE KNOW IT

G. Lumsden
Times, June 9th 1999, p. 29

Stakeholder pension providers can charge a maximum annual management fee of only 1% and have to accept contributions of as little as £10.00 per month. The prospect of stakeholder pensions is already forcing reductions in charges across all pension products. Traditional providers will have to cut costs by as much as 70% if they are to survive. It is predicted that the number of pension companies will fall from 70 to just six in the next ten years.

STAKEHOLDER PLANS FILL COMPANY PENSIONS GAP

S. Jagger
Daily Telegraph, June 30th 1999, p. 31

Under new government proposals, all firms, regardless of their size, must offer access to a stakeholder pension if they do not have their own scheme in place. Employers will have to choose a stakeholder pension provider from a list issued by Opra, provide information on the scheme and allow employees to make additional contributions through the payroll.

(See also Financial Times, June 30th 1999, p. 8)

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