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Someone please explain to me about pensions

15 May 2007, 14:55

I have some questions about the pension scheme generally and the current debacle in particular. I'm sorry if these are rather obvious and have been dealt with before, but there are a few things I just don't understand after having had my RM Pensions update.

1. Who is the trustee exactly - is this one person, does he or she have a name?

2. What is the size of the Union's representation - if there is a board or such - how many people are there on it, who do they represent - who has the final say?

3. Why was the contributions holiday a holiday for the employer only. Why not a holiday for the employees also - if, as we are told, this was necessary due to the new taxation laws.

4.Did the union protest this holiday? Who did they protest to? I wasn't with RM for most of this time, so don't know at what time the employees actually became aware of all this.

5. Quote - "at that time, no one could have predicted the significant fall in investment markets in the years prior to 2003 or the sudden rise in the number of people living longer." Pensions fund managers are paid bonuses into the millions for managing funds, why was there not one who could point out that share investments can go down. Actuaries are amongst the most highly paid people in the insurance and pensions industry - shouldn't they be getting a pay cut because of all this. This idea that no one could forsee what happened just doesn't hold water - forseeing such eventualities is exactly what they are paid for.

The reason that I ask these questions is because we are now going to be offered lesser entitlements for higher contributions. But how secure will that pension be? It seems that as an employee, no one was looking out for my interests in all this, and if they were, they weren't doing a very good job of it. How do I ensure that the money I am putting in now is going to be safe? Yes, this mistake is probably a one off, but what happens when some bright spark has another clever idea a few years down the line. Am I going to be left spending my retirement pushing trolleys round a supermarket car park because I've got no money to live on.

16 May 2007, 21:10

i can answer some of your questions

i dont know the size of the board of trustees but it is made up of represantatives from the business cwu cma and managers of the fund

the pension holiday had to be taken because the fund was so over subscribed in the 80s and 90s the problems we are having now is because the business took too long a holiday

employees contributions are fixed at 9% but the employers can be anything from nothing to 20%
i would liken it to fixed rate mortgages the business has variable and we have fixed

the benefits of our pension schemes cannot be made worse
but the business could with agreement introduce a new pension scheme for new employees
as they did in 1987

i dont know if this has answered your questions enough and i am not certain on the exact details but this is how i see the situation
if anyone has a better answer then im not to big to say i was wrong

17 May 2007, 14:39

Thank you gunner for your answers.

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