It is worth getting hold of an FT today or taking out a subscription. Jo Cumbo Robin Wigglesworth and Billy Nauman have compiled stunning insights from around the world on how the pandemic has deepened the global pension crisis. I’ve got a few free shares , so if any of my readers would like a free link, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Big Read concludes with the comments of Han Wick of the World Economic Forum
“You have to prioritise the present and make sure people have an adequate income now, with jobs. Then we can work on rebuilding what they can have for later life.”
The article chronicles the double whammy of volatile equity markets and falling bond yields
and looks at the various interventions from Governments which have generally followed Han Wick’s advice.
Whether through adopting riskier investment strategies, taking contribution holidays of simply “raiding the pot” the FT finds evidence everywhere of pensions being downgraded to protect jobs and put food on the table.
The article relentlessly repeats its message that the pandemic has made a bad situation worse offering no silver lining. This is an article that isn’t talking to pension specialists (for whom none of this is news), but to the FT’s general leadership for whom retirement planning matters personally, corporately and as public policy.
This is precisely what needs to be said. It is only too easy to forget that in our interventions, we are mortgaging our and others futures.
With no sign to the end of the pandemic, the article questions whether some of the certainties of the past will be certainties in the future
the debate is set to ratchet up on how big a priority governments should place on repairing the finances of pension funds as they seek to revive their economies.
In this world view, the FT is opening the door to radical solutions. The interim regulations that have given the green light to pension super funds include the measures in the Pension Schemes Bill encouraging new types of pension promise from CDC.
Meanwhile the mandating of data sharing to make pension dashboards work, now becomes even more critical. Finding the reported £20bn of lost pensions and consolidating the projected 50m abandoned pension pots is even more of a pension imperative,
Could the more radical views on pension funding expressed by Dr Iain Clacher and Con Keating be listened to as part of the Pension Regulator’s consultation?
Pensions is a Big Read and no more so than in the UK. It’s good to see the FT and Jo Cumbo in particular demonstrating the though leadership , not just for Britain but for the world.