24th May 2011

Aviva's Rethinking Retirement Report


The day has got a Y in its name so it must be time for another insurance company sponsored pensions report.


Aviva's report – Rethinking Retirement in the UK (embargoed until tomorrow, I think) has a couple of good ideas in it and Aviva is one of the better companies amongst the old guard of ABI members when it comes to looking after consumers (against some pretty dreadful competition). Aviva's Clive Bolton is one of the good guys.


The key recommendation which Aviva makes which I do wholeheartedly support is the proposal previously championed by Which? that all life insurance companies should be required to publish their annuity rates. This would ensure that those companies which like to operate below the radar, selling uncompetitive annuities to customers who know no better are exposed to consumer scrutiny and competitive pressures.


Aviva also proposes that all pension providers should research their members/policy holders to then offer them suitable enhanced terms where appropriate. I don't think this is workable and instead I think that investors would be better served by the development of the Pensions Passport proposition developed by the Pensions Income Choice Association (of which I am the Chairman) and now being reviewed by the DWP.


Aviva is also right to highlight the importance of pre-retirement consolidation and the need for the pensions industry to make it easier and more attractive for investors to roll their pension pots into one place. This is something which policy makers are acutely conscious of and which the pensions industry should be doing more to encourage.


14 thoughts on “Pensions”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Beyond parody aptly sums up the Euro leaders. However, you may have missed the fact that Michel Barnier has come up with a solution to all of our woes – he is going to ban rating agencies from opining on the credit rating of any country getting a bail out.

    I would make  a few comments on this:
    1. Good luck with Moodys and S&P, which are based in the USA;
    2. You had better watch what you say, as once he has closed the agencies down, the blogs will be next;
    3. Perhaps M Barnier will follow this up by issuing “alternative” borrowing figures, which show Greece running a major surplus and ban any challenges to their veracity.

    The leaders’ soap opera has reached the point where I cannot think what they even discuss any more. Sunday is too soon to save the world, but next Wednesday should be OK.

    On a serious note, if the EU does weather this particular financial storm, I believe that there will still be a tidal wave of euro scepticism based on:
    1. The obviously flawed Euro;
    2. The amazing austerity needed to keep within the Euro for southern nations;
    3. The extraordinary way in which France and Germany have simply ignored all other countries in this whole process.
    It seems to me that, whatever comes out of this, there will be more central dictating of national budgets and I am not sure how this will go down in Rome/Madrid or, especially, Paris.

    1. Anonymous says:

      “The extraordinary way in which France and Germany have simply ignored all other countries in this whole process.”
      I found it interesting that you should say this.    Is it extraordinary that the two most powerful nations in the Eurozone should dictate the process?   It is no more extraordinary than the UK parliament ignoring its citizens.  

      1. Anonymous says:

        I agree about the UK parliament. It’s just that the Europeans have made great pretence of being a big club of happy families and this has just disappeared recently. For example, the preposterous Van Rompuy and the egregious Barroso were until a few weeks ago part of at least a fig leaf pretending that others mattered.
        The way Europe is run, I suppose that I do find it extraordinary that, for once, what you see is what you get, i.e. France and Germany running the show openly.

    2. Anonymous says:

      Given the number of times they have promised to fix the euro crisis, I doubt they are capable of fulfilling their threat against the ratings agencies. As you rightly note they are in the USA and have a constitutional right to freedom of speech that cannot be silenced by European socialist diktat.

      I do not see France and Germany leading anything. Sarkozy wanted decisive action, Merkel decided no more German money. Decisive but not the result Sarko wanted. Hence he has asked for another conference – you didn’t get the correct answer therefore you must try again…

    3. Anonymous says:

      Hi Berlioz

      I also spotted that the Greek government are talking about banning “anonymous blogs” for spreading what they would presumably call disinformation or what used to be called the truth.

      Seeing as I use my name however I hope that I am safe from that one….

      1. anonymous informer says:

        I’m scribbling your comments down furiously and forwarding the copy to the central oversight committee.

        Some areas of government employment are on the rise. But I still don’t expect a pension from them.

  2. Anonymous says:

    As a small aside, I wrote yesterday about how the Eurocrats are using indecipherible acronyms to disguise what they are up to, but even I had not expected the PCCL (precautionary conditional credit line). Will this be managed by the EBA (Eurocrat bullshitters anonymous?)

  3. outsider says:

    ” Will life for them become one long summit which never ends and perhaps never agrees anything either?”Are you perhaps thinking of the Doha Round?

    1. Anonymous says:

      Hi outsider

      Well it is not quite the same group individually as it has taken so long governments have changed as Tony Blair was PM in the UK for example back in 2001. However spiritually not much seems to have changed!

      Whilst the 24/7 news media calls the current meetings ( I would call them negotiations but I see little sign of any actual negotiations…) a marathon the truth is that the real marathon will have to be run by the Greeks and more than a few others.

      But you are right to imply that this will not go on as long as Doha as Greece will not survive for anything like that length of time on its current trajectory.

  4. Kraja says:

    Hello Shaun,


    Interesting research looking into structure of the
    control network of transnational corporations. Title – “The network of
    global corporate control”. Researchers used data from 2007 so Lehman is in
    number 34. Curious what would happen if one of top 20 corporations from list
    followed Lehman into bankruptcy? If there are no fundamental flaws in this
    research it shows that regulators still have a long way to go if they are to
    remove systematic risks from global financial system.  Link to research paper:




  5. Here’s how things are going in Brussels on Day 1:

    1. Anonymous says:

      Hi Mr.K

      With all these summits they must be getting a little stir crazy with a soupcon of deja vu too! After all it was only a week ago that the French Finance Minister told us that this weekend’s summit would be “decisive” and now Chancellor Merkel tells us Wednesdays one will be guess what?

      However I have just seen a timetable which suggests Wednesdays one doesnt even start until 5pm….

  6. Russell Branch says:

    Hello again Shaun,
    Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but since everything is connected to everything else (as this link, below, proves), then it possibly is! There was a very interesting article in New Scientist this week, that showed that of the 37 Million companies around the world, a mere 147 of them (called “super entities”) have been analysed as controlling more than 40% of the entire wealth of the world. Each of these companies is wholly owned by the others, indicating that when one fails they will all fall over like dominoes. Most of these are financial institutions. Link to the whole article here:–the-capitalist-network-that-runs-the-world.html

    There is also another interesting article in this edition about changing the way futures are discounted

    kind regards


  7. Russell Branch says:

    Oh my

    apologies to Kraja, who linked to the original paper upon which the authors of my link to New Scientist based their article


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