Archive for October 2013

John Griffin

Spence & Partners latest blog for Pension Funds Online –

There was a welcome intervention into the murky world of pensions last week, from a source that will be a surprise to many.

It could be that he’s about to reach age 65 and so is worried about his retirement income, or that he’s concerned about being whacked by the bedroom-tax on Clarence House, or that he’s now a grandpa. But whatever the motivation, Prince Charles spoke out – demonstrating his knowledge and understanding of some of our current pensions problems.

On the same day teachers in England and Wales were staging another strike in protest at proposed changes to their contracts, including their pension arrangements.

The apparent contrast in attitudes was, to me, striking. The often-maligned, out of touch Royal was talking much sense about the predicament in which the pensions industry finds itself, calling for some long-term thinking and for some reality checks on the challenges that face his mum’s millions of subjects. However, a reported £3.9m hole in the Duchy of Cornwall accounts may also have grabbed his attention. Read more »

John Griffin

Now that auto-enrolment is a year old, and following publicity featuring high-profile figures like Karren Brady and Theo Paphitis, even the Man On The Moon must be aware that “something” is happening in the pensions world.  So much pensions news seems negative these days, with those in the pensions business now regarded by the general public as being as reputable as lawyers or politicians but, for a change, recent news has been more positive.

The figures appear impressive: 1.6 million more savers are in workplace pensions; less than 10% of employees have chosen to opt out (initial estimates had this at 30%).  But we shouldn’t get carried away, according to some pensions “experts” (the usual suspects, the “ It’s The End Of The World As We Know It” naysayers) and it’s true, there is still a long way to go.  Only the biggest companies have started enrolling workers into new workplace pensions since October 2012; medium-sized companies will do so from April 2014, those with fewer than 50 employees in June 2015, with all remaining eligible employees enrolled by2018. 

So what have we learned from the first year?  Read more »

Will Davison

Spence & Partners Head of Charity & Not for Profit advisory services David Davison was set the challenging task of presenting a session entitled “Pensions Made Simple” at the 22nd annual Charity Accountants Conference held in Birmingham on the 19-20 September 2013. The talk covered defined benefit and defined contribution schemes, private and public sector schemes and provided the audience with an overview of the issues charities face and the potential solutions available to them. The talk was well received by the audience and slides are available here : The Charity Accountants’ Conference – Pensions Made Simple

Neil Copeland

It was a surprisingly mild night when we boarded the “sleeper” train in Glasgow at about 11.20 pm on Monday night, trailing guitar cases, effects pedals and the drummer in our wake. We were heading to London to play at the first night of Mallowstreet Rocks. A chance to play a proper rock venue, the O2 Academy Islington, with another bunch of pension professionals all living the rock “n” roll dream, at least for one night. For the reasons why we found ourselves on the sleeper train see my earlier Blog; Pensions is the new Rock n Roll.

Clearly with an overnight journey to London and a days work to do in the London office ahead of a full nights rockin’ and rollin’, being well rested and refreshed would be a key part of our preparation. Admittedly, we erred on the refreshments side of the equation, having found Alan “Company Credit Card” Collins in the lounge car. Cheers Alan! Read more »

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