Turmoil hit efforts to implement new pensions law overnight with the surprise resignation of work and pensions secretary Andrew Smith, and no hint of just who might replace him.
The resignation marks another stage in the ongoing battle between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown for supremacy within the Labour Party.
There are questions about whether Smith walked or was pushed, given briefings against him were made all summer, the paper quotes former food and agriculture secretary Nick Brown.
Word on a replacement is likely to be in line behind the focus on Alan Milburn as a possible party chairman.
The FT says a return to cabinet of the former health secretary and Blairite would strengthen Blair’s grip on government given Smith has been associated with Brown’s push for power.
THE LIBERAL DEMOCRATS have stepped into the breach with their own call to up the basic state pension to £105 per week from £79.60, reports The Daily Telegraph.
Describing pension credit as “a lottery”, the LibDems are also pledging to do away with rules requiring the purchase of an annuity by age 75.
Removing means testing would encourage people to save more, the party adds.
OTHER PENSIONS NEWS from The Times notes criticism of continued massive pension payouts to directors of firms that provide far smaller pots to their workers.
Research by the TUC has concluded the average directors annual pension payout in retirement is £169,000, some 26 times that of the average occupational pension at £6,344.
The highest-paid directors get £303,000 worth of pension income, helped by the average 20% of directors salary paid as contributions against an average of 6.5% of salary for contributions to ordinary employees.
Out of 120 firms studied, the average directors pension pot was £2.15m.
”Employees in every sector have seen their pensions under attack in recent years. Fat cats are still supping the pensions cream and have taken little or no notice of business leaders or ministers who say they should set an example,” the paper quotesBrendan Barber, TUC general secretary.
ACCOUNTANT ERNST & YOUNG is being investigated by the accounting profession’s own disciplinary tribunal following complaints lodged by the Joint Disciplinary Scheme over its role in the Equitable Life scandal, reports The Scotsman.
E&Y is already being sued for more than £2bn by the life company over its handling of accounts in the lead-up to the House of Lords ruling in 2000, which effectively crippled the business.
E&Y has rejected the complaints.
DAVID MAYHEW, chairman of Cazenove, has met with senior executives of US investment bank JPMorgan Chase in New York to discuss a possible sale of the UK institution, reports the FT.
A deal with Lehman Brothers is also on the table, yet City-based institutional investors are keen for the JPMorgan-proposed joint venture deal to be picked as the most suitable.
A full-blown takeover could “ruin” Cazenove’s unique appeal, the FT writes.IFAonline
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