The Times today asks whether retirement is about to become a thing of the past after the government, ...
The Times says the director of the Tomorrow Project, Richard Worsley, wants to examine the way people take time out from working life and what that means for contributions to pension funds.
"The idea of taking 15 or so years at the end off is becoming a nonsense. People will need to make contributions for much longer," Worsley is quoted by The Times.
And the UK is far from being the only place where such studies are occurring.
"The British North American Committee (BNAC) - a group of business leaders, trade unionists and academics from the UK, the US and Canada - this week held a conference on the rise of ageing workforces, the pensions provision time bomb and what policymakers need to do," The Times says.
Scrapping the retirement age is an idea that runs into two difficulties, however: one is that many people cherish the thought of not having to work beyond their fifties; the other is that people who do work into their old age do not want to be discriminated against.
The latter point may be sorted out by demographics, as the growing pool of elderly voters means politicians are going to have to push through more stiff penalties for employers dicriminating against their older employees.
There is still a fine line to tread though, as The Times puts it, governments will not want to be seen as forcing people to work until they drop dead.
"If any end to a mandatory retirement age is planned, choice rather than compulsion will be emphasised. Neither the Government nor its advisers will want to be seen as forcing people to work for ever, even if the cultural change that follows from ending retirement may encourage this."
Retirement may also be on the minds of more than a few partners and others at Andersen, the accountant charged with having destroyed documents relating to the bankruptcy of US energy trading company Enron.
The Times reports that Andersen has been sacked as Enron's accountant following further revelations of bungling, as the company was forced to admit it might have overstated profits by as much as $2bn.
The FT adds that congressional investigators have now discovered that Andersen's Chicago head office was in regular contact with its Huston office over the issue of destroying Enron-related documents.
The partner fired by Andersen over the affair told Congress that there had been regular telephone conferences over Enron's troubles from September on, sometimes several times per week.
The FT says Andersen is refusing to return calls made by the media.
In London, meanwhile, heated debate is also likely to greet the publication yesterday for radical changes to the 300-year-old Lloyds insurance market.
The Telegraph reports that the proposals include ending the unlimited liability of Lloyds names, abandoning the yearly capital-raising exercise, and switching from three-year accounting to an annual model.
"Lloyd's is sending out the proposals for consultation and hopes to pass them in a byelaw at its ruling council later this year," the Telegraph says.
"No new unlimited liability Lloyd's Names would then be accepted into the market. Existing Names who want to continue underwriting would have to convert to limited liability by January 2005."
"The plan represents the biggest change since corporate insurers were introduced after Lloyd's nearly went out of business with £8 billion of asbestosis losses between 1988 and 1992."
Turning the changes into reality will be no smooth sailing either, the Telegraph adds, because the names are likely to be dead against changes which they see as impingeing on their current ability to write off losses against tax.
The Association of Lloyds Members has already stated that it feels the proposed changes are the result of pressure from foreign insurance companies, and that it is wrong to blame names for previous problems caused by "ill-disciplined underwriting".
The Lloyds Names Association is also displeased with the proposals, saying they are directed at "soothing the ruffled feelings of corporate capital providers".
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