Archive for September 2008

Brian Spence

I am not sure who Gordon “we’re listening” Brown, our beleaguered prime minister and former chancellor, turns to for guidance in matters economic, but he could do worse than have regard, not to Keynes or Galbraith, but to Charles Dickens. Whether you are responsible for a household, corporate or national budget, we can all understand and relate to the conclusions of Mr Micawber on the happiness engendered by a budget surplus, the misery caused by a budget deficit and the fine line between the two. Read more »

Brian Spence

‘An ace in the hole’

There is no doubt that having a final salary pension scheme makes the sale of a business considerably more difficult and, in certain situations, completely impossible. However, is that necessarily always a bad thing?

Where a company is successful and the directors are looking to benefit from that success for the foreseeable future with no desire to sell, the existence of a final salary pension scheme can deter unwanted bidders. Read more »

Brian Spence

Captain Equity to the Rescue

Over recent months, we have seen the re-birth of the superhero, with Batman, Ironman, Hulk, the Fantastic Four and even the alternative superhero Hancock coming to the big screen to save us all from unspeakable peril. The level of blind confidence placed in these superheroes reminds me of a similar level of faith being demonstrated a bit closer to home, namely the ability of equities to deliver investment returns which are going to save our embattled final salary schemes from a fate worse than death. Actually, death is not such a bad thing for final salary schemes, particularly if it comes early and often. Read more »

Brian Spence

Some of you may have heard of Johnny Knoxville. He has made a career for himself by taking outrageous risks which usually damage his body in spectacular ways. He and his skateboarding pals are part of an MTV show called Jackass where they indulge in these high risk activities for the camera. 

There are plenty of video clips documenting his unhealthy appetite for risk, however, despite his reckless risk taking and disregard for his personal welfare I was unable to find one clip of Johnny Knoxville acting as a pension scheme trustee. I found this surprising given the high risk nature of pension trusteeship in the UK today. Read more »

Brian Spence

Hindsight is a wonderful analytical tool, but its practical applications are limited, of course, to pinpointing problems after they have arisen rather than being able to prevent them from happening in the first place.

We do not have the ability to foretell the future, but we can make changes when we recognise where mistakes have been made in the past and for those that are ready to act quickly there are significant benefits to be had. Nowhere is this fleet footed approach more important than in the world of pensions. Read more »

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