The day the PPF turned day-glo

It’s not often that the phrase “lost in translation” is more than a glib cliche , but yesterday’s *fake news* on the impending catastrophe from the ECJ ruling on the PPF has given if fresh currency!

The breaking news was preceded by this seemingly prescient warning the day before.

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Pride of place in the *fake news* hall of fame goes to Sky News who not only printed a fake story, but printed the  comment of Eddy Truell, for whom the potential demise of the Pension Protection Fund meant his consolidation vehicle was back in business.

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While Ed saw the moment of Superfund’s greatness flicker, the trade press (with notable exceptions such as the FT) piled in behind. The story could be summed up as

“The PPF was holed below the waterline as the EC judgement demanded it pay benefits to all its members at 100% of the levels promised by the originating schemes.”.

Then the awful truth dawned.


The British press had been sold a dummy and had put through their own net. The story SKY and they had printed – and which Eddy had gloried in – was a load of tosh – lost in translation from the original pronouncement (in German).

I suspect a lot of journalists were not as honest as James and that the twitter cutting room is littered with deleted tweets with #pensions hashtags.

*Fake news* of fatality, wake up to reality

It turned out that the EC was only requiring the PPF (and other lifeboats) to top people up to a minimum “poverty” level of £10,000 pa. The number of PPF members who won’t have outside income (state pension) sufficient to get to the poverty level is very small and while this and the Hampshire ruling , will make the job of super-pouting PPF ops supremo Sara Protheroe a little more exacting, the net impact on PPF solvency will be a lot closer to £0m.

News of the death of PPF has been somewhat exaggerated.

News from the source please!

This PPF story is  a salutary lesson for journalists relying on newsfeeds for their story. Check your primary sources – journos… or risk ignominy!

So it’s Christmas and we’ll all have forgotten this in the new year. But had the PPF been a stock, it could have seen some pretty violent trading yesterday. There would have been big  winners and losers and you can be sure that the losers would not have been as forgiving  as Mike Harrison !

And for those unfamiliar with the oeuvre of Poly Styrene and X Ray Spex, here (without adverts) is her top of the pops performance of the original “The day the world turned day-glo”.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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4 Responses to The day the PPF turned day-glo

  1. Gerry Flynn says:

    Surely a better song should have been the Police “Every breath you take”.

  2. Derek Benstead says:

    On the other hand, if the PPF did provide protection to a much higher proportion of everyone’s pension than it does, there would never have been an argument in court from people hard hit by the current rules. And we can stop regarding PPF entry as a bad outcome for pension schemes. With the protection of a decent PPF, we can then get on with providing defined benefit pensions for future service without having to worry about self sufficiency funding. Rather than “protecting” the PPF by shutting down DB pensions, we can protect the PPF by having a continuing pool of DB schemes in existence to levy. A utopian vision perhaps, but nothing positive was ever achieved without vision.

  3. P D BEATTIE says:

    Another judgement that favours the ‘pension professionals’ but still a catastrophe for us FAS/PPF pensioners whose ‘life boat’ scheme was doomed from the start torpedoed by non realistic ‘Gordon Brown style’ rules that penalise tus elderly who are unable to improve themselves by earned income. The FAS scheme was late in starting at 2004, and then were only offered 80% of their DB pension, and after haggling was improved by a reluctant DWP to 90%. But they also put their ‘sting in the tail’ with a note not offering any yearly indexing that should have been 3% RPI to cover inflation that we paid for in DB rules. Those of us with retirement date of 2000 or years before lost 4 or more years with no help from the DWP until 2004 so now our ‘life boat’ is sinking with ever growing pension poverty!

    Peter D Beattie (FAS/PPF Pensioner/PAG Member/Equitable Life policy claimee)

  4. henry tapper says:

    Great comments both

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