The number of workers left without retirement income because of company pension schemes being wound up threatens to double unless the £1bn Turner & Newell scheme is saved, warns shadow work and pensions secretary David Willetts.
The Daily Telegraph says he has written to work and pensions secretary Andrew Smith, urging him to take action to ensure trustee Alexander Forbes does not decide to close the scheme, potentially adding another 40,000 people to the 65,000 who have already seen their occupational savings vanish.
T&N’s US parent Federal Mogul is currently in bankruptcy proceedings, sparked by a massive litigation suit stemming from damages linked to asbestos.
STAYING ON THE ISSUE of pensions, The Telegraph also notes the Opposition has criticised the news that staff and directors of the proposed Pension Protection Fund are to receive civil-service style pensions.
So, despite being in charge of a safety net of last resort for those saving through occupational pension schemes, PPF staff will themselves benefit from non-contributory pensions with unlimited indexation, that are guaranteed by the taxpayer.
"I think it very strange that board member staff should have privileges that those paying for it do not have," says Lord Higgins, Conservative spokesman for pensions in the Lords.
THE TIMES MEANWHILE adds its pension story focused on GKN, the maker of auto and helicopter parts, which is set to use part or all of the more than £1bn raised through the sale of its stake in helicopter firm AugustaWestland to plug a hole in its company pension scheme.
The fund currently has a deficit of more than £500m, contributing to the overall UK Plc deficit estimated to be some £60bn, The Times says.
However, where GKN’s case is special is it marks the first time a major employer has used cash raised from an asset disposal specifically to target a pension issue.
HBOS, WHICH yesterday reported interim results, says it is not interested in Abbey because competition issues undermine any benefits derived from blocking Banco Santander’s bid, report The Daily Telegraph.
A bid for Abbey by Lloyds TSB was blocked by competition authorities, and HBOS says nothing has changed that is likely to change the view that a bid by the big four UK clearing banks would be detrimental to competition in the UK market.
THE SCOTSMAN ADDS TO the banking saga by quoting a “banking analyst” as saying his discussions with National Australia Bank indicates it wants to exit its European holdings, including Clydesdale Bank.
There are no signs the Australian financial services provider is looking for bids, but may be open to unsolicited offers, the paper writes.
NAB tomorrow faces judgement in an Irish court as to whether it engaged in tax avoidance and overcharged customers of its Irish subsidiary National Irish Bank, and some £42m has already been put aside to pay the expected penalties, The Scotsman adds.
CHINA’S FIRST foreign controlled issuer of equities and bonds could be in the making according to the FT, which reports the government there is considering an application from investment bank Goldman Sachs for the role.
GS would not itself would not arrange equities and bond deals in the Chinese market, but would do so through another company it would control, together with a Chinese partner taking on a minority role.
However, the paper warns a decision in the matter could take longer than some expect, as China’s leadership is wary of opening the door to foreign domination of a domestic stock market that could become worth some $2trn by 2010.IFAonline
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