Bank Of England Economist Confused By Pensions

Bank Of England Economist Confused By Pensions
Kura Huraa Maldives by Julian Cohen. Why?

In a shock admission, the chief economist of the Bank of England says the UK pensions system is so complicated that even he can't make sense of it, so you need to work hard getting to grips with your SIPP

The Chief Economist Of The Bank Of England Claims Not To Understand Pensions

Bank Of England Top Man Upsets The Pension Industry

During a recent speech entitled The Great Divide, Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane said he didn’t understand the pensions system in the UK, and in his opinion, many advisers don’t either.

He told the audience that financial services providers deliberately make their products difficult for the public to understand and more complex than necessary, often with consumers being charged a premium for buying them. 

To give a personal example, I consider myself moderately financially literate. Yet I confess to not being able to make the remotest sense of pensions.

Conversations with countless experts and independent financial advisers have confirmed for me only one thing – that they have no clue either.  That is a desperately poor basis for sound financial planning.

This problem is one which, if anything, is becoming more acute over time. More of the risk associated with financial decisions is these days being shouldered, not by the state or companies, but by individuals.

Take pensions. Over the 20 years, we have seen a secular shift away from defined benefit towards defined contribution pension schemes. That places the investment risk of pensions squarely on the shoulders of the individual, rather than companies.

Not surprisingly, advisers were furious, claiming his comments were "extraordinary" and "irresponsible".  One even offered to visit him at the Bank of England in Threadneedle Street with the promise of free pensions advice.

According to Which? almost half of 50 to 65 year olds don't know the full rate of the new state pension, so perhaps the Bank of England chief economist has a point.

In case you were wondering, it’s £155.65 per week as of April 2016.

Whilst appearing to be rather aggressive towards the pension industry, the Bank of England chief economist was merely highlighting the complicated pension framework that’s been modified many times, with some of the most substantial changes occurring within the last year or so under pension freedoms.

In a positive vein, he called for classroom teaching to be linked to finance, so people know how to draw up a monthly budget of debits and credits, how to make sense of the Annual Percentage Rate on a loan, and how to decide between competitive savings, pensions and mortgage products.  He also suggested more courses should be available to adults to help them better understand financial matters. 

He acknowledged the Bank of England also has a role to play in explaining its decisions on things like interest rates and bank lending, to help our financial decision making, which must include the effective judgement of risk.

When it comes to self-invested pensions, that’s entirely the point.  If you’re in control of the financial decisions of your pension fund, you need to be fully informed so you can look forward with confidence to a prosperous retirement.

Please Share This

If you’ve found this page of interest, please would you kindly send a link to it to your friends and colleagues using the buttons below.  You’ll be helping us out, and they might like it too.  Thanks, it's much appreciated.


AJ Bell Is Often The Best Value SIPP For Stockmarket Assets

That's our opinion.  Not just because AJ Bell was the first company to offer an online SIPP.  Nor that it's received many prestigious awards.  And not even because the wife of SIPPclub's Founder has an AJ Bell SIPP.  It's because it's one of the most competitive stockmarket SIPPs on the market. 

Over time, charges can wipe out a huge part of your fund.  We like AJ Bell because there are no set-up costs.  If you hold passive funds, which is our preference, or shares, investment trusts, EFTs, gilts or bonds, you pay one small fixed fee no matter how large your fund.  And when you come to draw your benefits either as occasional drawdown or UFPLS payments, there's a small charge for the whole year no matter how many times you access your money (many SIPP and SSAS providers charge more than this for each payment).  However, you should always compare charges in detail, because AJ Bell could be more expensive than other providers, depending on the type of stockmarket assets you hold.

Visit AJ Bell

Get Valuable SIPP And SSAS Insights Emailed Directly To Your Inbox Every Monday

  • Please use an email address you can access. You can unsubscribe at any time.

As SIPPclub neither advises on, nor arranges, nor recommends specific investments or strategies, we're unable to say whether a SIPP or SSAS or any investment within it is right for you. Ultimately, it’s your money and your decision, and you should only proceed once you're satisfied you've undertaken sufficient due diligence. If you need advice, you should speak to your trusted adviser, or you could find a local adviser from  Alternatively, we'd be pleased to introduce to a suitably qualified independent financial adviser.

Please read our full Terms which includes criteria for SIPPclub membership.