Issues of protecting workers pension rights are on the agenda today after reports the government is lagging in efforts to provide for those already hit, and a warning the Pension Protection Fund must avoid risky investments.
The Daily Telegraph says Whitehall has been stalling on collecting data from the tens of thousands of workers who have already been left without occupational pensions benefits despite saving in some cases for their entire working lives.
The £400m Financial Assistance Scheme announced in May by the Department for Work and Pensions has waited “until the eleventh hour” to begin sending out questionnaires to trustees, the paper writes.
FAS meanwhile is barely mentioned in the Pensions Bill set to hit its report stage in the House of Lords on 1 November, with the government warning it may have to put off finalising details until secondary legislation is put in after the Bill becomes law next April.
Continuing the focus on protecting pension schemes, the NAPF has warned investments made by the planned Pension Protection Fund should overwhelmingly be made in bonds to avoid the risk of being exposed to periods of economic weakness, the FT reports.
The FT says the Association also wants pension schemes with higher exposures to equities to pay higher fees to the PPF because of the added risk.
If insurers are unable to support schemes because of exposure to equities in the first instance, shifting those affected onto a PPF itself reliant on equities would create risk of a “systemic failure”
STANDARD LIFE’S PLANS to demutualise have hit some rocks after leaks of a customer survey suggest about two-thirds of the company’s members are against or undecided in favour of a float on the stock market.
Just a third fully support the move the figures suggest, something the company has not denied, The Scotsman writes.
The situation could change, however, according to further comments that because the company’s big communications push on the issue has not taken place, there are expected to be many more votes in favour of demutualization come the annual general meeting in 2006.
ABBEY’S BOOKS of closed life funds are being offered for preliminary perusal ahead of possible sales, The Scotsman reports.
Once a court meeting set for 8 November is past and the £8bn deal to take over Abbey is finalised, new owner Banco Santander is expected to put Scot Prov and Scot Am’s funds on the block, the paper says.
Selling the books of closed life funds of the two subsidiaries could net about £1bn, the bank has been advised.IFAonline
The increase in minimum AE contributions has had little impact on opt-out rates - with cessations after April increasing by less than two percentage points, data from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) shows.
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£116.8m of benefits received by customers