I stuck to my promise. At the start of this year I vowed to produce a monthly diary containing links to recent articles and blogs to give you an idea of the topics which interest me. And here we are in December! In 2020 I’ve explained the UK pension landscape. A series of posts chronicle how the private sector landscape has evolved since the end of Second World War. This month I’ve turned my attention to the public sector with a short explainer of the unique qualities of the local government pension scheme. From January I’ll be explaining statutory unfunded public sector schemes and then discussing the challenges facing the pension system. This month also saw the publication of an article examining the impact of covid on the Pension Protection Fund. I made my last appearance of the year on the Times Radio’s Early Breakfast Show on 21st December. After a tumultuous year, here’s hoping 2021 will be better!
Public sector pensions: the local government pension scheme
I’ve written about the local government pension scheme for many years but it wasn’t until I penned this short explainer I realised just how many unusual features it has. It’s the largest defined benefit pension scheme in England and Wales. As a statutory funded pension scheme it’s unlike funded private sector trust schemes and unfunded public sector schemes. It also has the unusual quirk of being one scheme administered by 90 local authorities. The introduction of pooling has only added its individuality.
PPF braces for uncertain Covid scheme inflows
Arcadia’s fall into administration makes my latest article examining the impact of the covid on the Pension Protection Fund particularly topical. It discusses how the pandemic could undermine a number of schemes with already weak covenant sponsors and tip them into the fund. There is no reason for immediate concern: the fund is in a strong position and there is a delay between companies going bust to schemes ending up in the PPF. But there could be problems if a number of schemes with large deficits fall into the fund.
Discussing the business news for the Times Radio’s Early Morning Breakfast show has been another 2020 first and it’s been a great experience despite having to get up at 4.45am! In my last appearance of the year we discussed the impact of the border closures, the effect of Tier 4 on retail and how covid has shaped the residential property market. (I’m on at around 48 minutes.)
Understanding the UK pension landscape
Over the course of this year I’ve written a series of blog posts which explain how UK pensions have evolved since the end of the Second World War. This is a truncated history as I’ve focused on the issues which are particularly relevant today. I’ve addressed how private sector defined benefit schemes were closed at the end of the last millennium as well as the Labour government’s decision to launch the Pension Commission and the introduction of auto-enrolment. This post explains how that policy was implemented. After I’ve completed my explanation of public sector schemes, the next phase of the project will be to explain the challenges facing the system.