“Pensions are impossible to understand and are harming Britons’ efforts to save the right amount of cash for later life”
Andy Haldane the Bank of England’s chief economist admitted last night.
Since I have made it my job, as Founder of Pension PlayPen to restore confidence in pensions, I am pleased that I am not yet redundant but sad that we have not even done our job with Andy Haldane.”out” of pensions
To coin the phrase “they are all out”.
For Andy is in a queue of luminaries lined up against the pension industry, the most eloquent perhaps Tom Tugendhat and most famous our Prime Minister who went into a pensions rant in a recent Parliamentary Question Time.
What all these high profile Government figures have in common is a frustration with the pensions industry for refusing to show its hand and simply tell us how it all works.
Meanwhile we talk among ourselves about the value of what we are doing and look to trustees , IGCs and other fiduciaries to sell our sizzle. They should not be selling the sizzle , they should be examining the sausage.
What is going on with the sausage making is that we are being charged for premium 100% beef services and being delivered 80% bread dressed up in a glitzy bit of packaging.
We are paying many times more in hidden costs than we think we are. A survey yesterday suggested that some “hedge funds” are charging 36 times as much as a simple index tracker for doing much the same. The survey was commissioned and carried out by a former fund manager with a considerable reputation. It concluded that 4.7m of us invest in such funds
Another survey published yesterday by Aviva told us that 1.5m of us have no idea where our money is invested . Paul Lewis took me to task for publishing this research telling me people had no need to know.
Paul is right; subject to the proviso that they should be able to trust whoever they pay to look after their money to do so in a responsible way.
The breakdown in trust in the financial services industry starts and ends in our refusal to be honest, open- transparent- about what we do.
- We simply will not tell people the truth about what is going on.
- We don’t tell people how much they are paying
- We don’t explain why they have to pay so much
- We cannot give any assurance they are getting value for money
We make pensions impossible to understand because we are scared of the consequences of people knowing what is happening to their money. This is very simply because we don’t have confidence we are treating our customers fairly.
We can do better than we are, but we need to be bold about it and accept that before things get better , they will get worse.
But if we don’t do something , things will get a whole lot worse, and will not get better.