UK Pension Liabilities In Private Sector Public Sector and Not For Profit Sector Are Out Of Control
Why are the systems meant to protect those saving for retirement so inadequate? You might say they are underfunded rather than unfunded until you see how much underfunding there is and then you might agree that really pensions are unfunded!
Pension News Headlines Risk Analysis and Reviews
18th March 2018 In Future UK Employees Pensions Maybe Better Protected
Avoiding or abusing pension responsibilities maybe made a crime under plans to crack down on business leaders who fail to comply with their responsibilities to protect pensions and pensioners in UK.
The UK’s Insolvency Service will also be given extra powers to help protect employees from negligent corporate business decision makers who put pension schemes at risk.
— Online Manager (@RetirementMag) March 7, 2018
22nd January 2018 UK Prime Minister May Says UK Will Stop Abuse Of Pension Schemes By Executives and Shareholders
The scandal of continuous underfunding of UK pensions and the abuse of pension provision in the UK has been highlighted once again by the collapse of the UK’s second biggest construction company Carillion. Some 28,000 pensioners are likely to face reduced pension payments due to the collapse of Carillion with perhaps a £1 billion pension hole where Carillions money should be.
Instead of addressing the pension hole Carillion executives chose to boost the performance of the firm by underfunding the pension pot paying higher dividends and paying themselves larger bonuses than they would otherwise have been entitled to. Carillion pensioners will transfer to the Pension Protection Fund after the collapse of Carillion but many pensioners many pension members out of pocket when their pension is likely to be cut.
The UK Prime Minister says the UK will clamp down on executives who line their own pockets while not protecting workers pensions.
New rules in the spring of 2018 will aim to deal with executives who threaten worker’s pensions in order to benefit personally from bigger bonuses or rewards.
However Mrs May said last year after the BHS scandal that she would tackle executive abuse to pension contributions with no progress to date.
27th June 2017 UK Pension Regulator published its report into a deal under which Philip Green paid £363m to BHS pension scheme
The Pension Regulator says the main purpose in selling BHS was to prevent taking on liability for the BHS pension scheme. The Pension Regulator says that under Mr Greens watch the BHS pension fund had moved from a surplus into a deficit. However after Mr Greens personal recent substantial contribution BHS pension fund now has a £100m surplus.
However what is clear is that pension fund risk management is highly inadequate. Periodically massive pension fund shortfalls materialise into real financial loss to pensioners. This will continue until legislation corrects the inadequacy of the present regulatory control and monitoring. Perhaps the Pension Regulator could also do its job better. It needs to show its teeth earlier.
Citibank Report 2016
According to Citibank, the 20 largest OECD countries alone owe $78 trillion to their public sector pension funds funding for pay-as-you-go and defined benefit public pensions.
Do you pay into a private pension in UK? Your employer is not! Overall private pension funding in UK is only up to around two-thirds of what is needed. Around three quarters of a trillion pounds extra is needed to fully fund private UK pensions!
Where is this money going to come from to make sure you get your pension when you retire?
Too many people in the UK who think they are saving for their retirement via a pension have been let down and will continue to be let down
Unfunded public sector pensions make up two-thirds of the £2 trillion UK pension liabilities. Private sector pension funds should hopefully become less of an issue as private pension funds or closed to new members and subsequently closed down altogether. However BHS has shown how private pension funds can throw up real problems for those saving for retirement or in retirement.
Why has the UK got saving for retirement so badly wrong?
Unfunded state pensions are the legacy of our fathers and mothers. They have failed to grasp the nettle of saving for retirement and have left a mess to the next generation in the UK whilst pocketing relatively generous pensions for themselves. This is compounded by unfunded central and local government employee pensions.
Public sector pensions are essentially like illegal Ponzi schemes where people think they are investing in their future retirement, but largely they are paying the pensions of those who are retired in UK now. They are really paying money with little more than a hope that the young of today will pay their pension when they retire. However there is no guarantee that the young of today and government’s of the future will feel inclined to pay for retired people’s lifestyles they have no hope of matching when the young eventually retire. The main risk control measure seems to be increasing the state retirement age. And so it continues.
Corrupt business leaders are also failing to pay into private pensions to fund the pension of many people in private sector funds. They seem to be hoping that they will get away with it and someone else will pick up the tab which is normally the retired person who did pay their fair share into the pension fund.
The pension scandal is yet more evidence of the failure of risk management, corporate governance and compliance to create a fair society and corporate culture. A demographic time bomb will soon explode but at the moment successive UK governments are happy to pass the parcel in the hope that the music doesn’t stop when they are in charge.
Subscribe to BusinessRiskTV to receive email alerts to UK Pension Governance Risk and Compliance GRC news headlines risk analysis and risk reports