All Articles

“Postal union’s pensions plan doesn’t deliver what it claims” - John Ralfe, Times Business Comment, 11/11/2017
"The union’s proposal is smoke and mirrors, based on faulty economics"
See Times website (paywall)


Universities under pressure over growing pension scheme deficit - Josephine Cumbo, Financial Times, 26/08/2017
"John Ralfe believes the root cause of the fund’s rocky finances is an “aggressive bet” that equities would outperform bonds"

MPs probe university sector's pensions deficit - Josephine Cumbo, Financial Times, 23/08/2017
Panel that took on BHS scandal focuses on largest shortfall of any UK retirement fund

“University pensions bet has failed. Who will pay?” - John Ralfe, Times Business Comment, 17/08/2017
"The root cause of USS’s whopping deficit is the aggressive bet that it has taken over many years that equities will outperform boring bonds"
See Times website (paywall)


Universities’ main pension pot faces the biggest deficit of any British fund - A N Other, The Economist, 04/08/2017
“USS has been complacent at best and arrogant at worst” JER

University pension fund deficit soars to £17.5bn - Sarah Gordon, Financial Times, 29/07/2017
“The danger that USS poses to the future financial health of UK universities is hugely underestimated” JER

University finances face £17.5bn pensions squeeze - A N Other, BBC Website, 29/07/2017
"The root cause is the USS trustees going down to the casino and betting the money that they had been given by universities on the stock market" JER

“The pensions regulator has played its weak BHS hand well” - John Ralfe, Financial Times FTfm, 10/07/2017
"When a company buys another, the retirement fund should be guaranteed"
See FT website (paywall)


Time to reveal real costs of public sector pensions - John Ralfe, The Times Comment, 10/07/2017
The government fiddles public sector pension costs, understating them by a whopping £15 billion a year.

“What can people with final salary pensions learn from British Steel?” - John Ralfe, Financial Times FT Money, 08/07/2017
“How much to spend in retirement is the most complex financial decision”
See FT website (paywall)


Tata Steel workers cash in final salary pensions - Josephine Cumbo, Financial Times, 05/06/2017
“BSPS has improved its cash transfer values, to reflect the scheme’s lower risk investment strategy" JER

Co-op Bank plans debt-for-equity swap in search for capital - Emma Dunkley, Financial Times, 29/05/2017
“The modest value of the Co-op Bank’s operating business is completely swamped by its huge pension liabilities" JER

"We should all vote for MPs' pensions to be reformed" - John Ralfe, Financial Times FT Money, 20/05/2017
“Losing their defined benefit pension scheme would put politicians on a par with constituents”
See FT website (paywall)


British Airways loses landmark legal case against pension trustees - Josephine Cumbo, Financial Times, 19/05/2017
“The APS is very unusual in giving trustees power to change scheme rules without BA’s agreement, allowing the trustees to award discretionary increases" JER

The actuary’s magic pencil has had its day - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 17/05/2017
"The days when the “actuaries’ magic pencil” could make pension deficits disappear simply by tweaking assumptions have gone"
See FT website (paywall)


Tata Steel agrees settlement ‘in principle’ for UK pensions - Michael Pooler and Simon Mundy, Financial Times, 16/05/2017
“For the company to continue to sponsor s new scheme is very rare" JER

It's zombie versus lifeboat for British Steel Pension Scheme - John Ralfe, Financial Times FTfm, 24/04/2017
"To qualify as a zombie scheme, Tata Steel would have to inject at least £1.5bn cash"
See FT website (paywall)


Royal Mail faces strike threat after pension scheme closure - Michael Pooler , Financial Times, 13/04/2017
“Closing the DB scheme was inevitable. Rather than trying to stop it, the CWU should be negotiating a more generous DC replacement” JER

Millennials struggle to compare the Lifetime Isa with a pension - Claer Barrett, Financial Times FT Money, 07/04/2017
"Lisas have the huge virtue of being very simple v a pension — for every £1,000 you save, the government adds £250” JER

BHS deal shows UK pension regulation needs strengthening - John Ralfe, Financial Times FTfm, 20/03/2017
"The deal is OK for the 19,000 BHS scheme members, but no more than OK"
See FT website (paywall)


Is Green Paper a green light to attack pensions? - John Ralfe, Times Comment, 13/03/2017
"there is no crisis in pensions, so no need for crisis measures"
See Times website (paywall)


Don't cash in your final salary pension - John Ralfe, Financial Times FT Money, 11/02/2017
Most people are not so wealthy & their pension is a large part of their overall retirement wealth, so the DB guarantees are very valuable.
See FT website (paywall)


UK public sector pension costs understated by £15bn a year - John Ralfe, Financial Times FTfm, 06/02/2017
See FT website (paywall)

"Ease pension issues with virtuous borrowing cycle" - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 21/01/2017
See FT website (paywall)

JER Biography - John Ralfe, JER Website, 09/01/2017

Thread and zip maker Coats in £255m deal to plug pension deficit - Josephine Cumbo, Financial Times, 16/12/2016
"The parent has no legal obligation for the subsidiary’s pension scheme and there is no obvious breach of rules — but the regulator has been tough"

‘Flaws’ in valuations of pension fund obligations - Josephine Cumbo, Financial Times, 12/12/2016
“In the real world, when insurance companies buy pension liabilities from companies, they use bond-based values” JER

BT has second-worst funded pension scheme in the world - Chris Newlands, Financial Times, 20/11/2016
"However hard BT tries to reinvent itseld for the 21st century, it still has the burden of 20th century pensions to pay for many decades.”

“A thought experiment worth repeating” - Zvi Bodie & John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 09/11/2016
The higher expected return of equities is just the reward for the risk of holding equities, not a “free lunch” or a “loyalty bonus” for long-term investors.
See FT website (paywall)


"No jiggery-pokery with market value" - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 28/10/2016
See FT website (paywall)
Response to Jonathan Ford's FT article


Rolls-Royce bucks pension trend with surplus and better benefits - Peggy Hollinger, Financial Times, 23/10/2016
John Ralfe said to let companies water down promises would be “an unjustified transfer from pensioners to shareholders”.

“Robbing workers of pensions won’t solve company pension problems” - John Ralfe, Daily Telegraph Expert View, 15/10/2016
The WPSC may conclude it is wrong is principle, or cannot be made to work in practice, or would help only a small number of firms.
See Telegraph website


Bernard Matthews rescue plan ‘carefully crafted’ to hit pension scheme - Josephine Cumbo, Financial Times, 10/10/2016
"John Ralfe said it would be misguided for the select committee to target pre-pack mechanisms as part of their pension inquiry"

Honeywell makes plans to close UK defined benefit pension scheme - Chris Newlands, Financial Times, 01/10/2016
“Many larger DB schemes and virtually all small and medium-sized enterprises’ schemes are now closed". JER

Does the SNP’s WASPI option really cost just £7.9bn? - John Ralfe, JER Website, 22/09/2016
The SNP has not managed to pull a Rabbit out of its Hat. The real cost of Option 2 is almost £30bn.

Talking Turkey - Bernard Matthews (scoll down) - Lombard (Jonathan Guthrie), Financial Times, 20/09/2016
"Pensions consultant John Ralfe points out that Rutland Partners could be in line to get a payout from administrators"

“A new Weighing Machine will not solve the UK’s pension problems” - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 19/09/2016
See FT website (paywall)

“Noisy lobbyists are shouting that the pension sky is falling” - John Ralfe, Financial Times FTfm, 12/09/2016
'There is no "DB pensions crisis", so no need for "crisis measures"'
See FT website (pay wall)


Easing corporate pension promises could save £350bn, study finds - Josephine Cumbo, Financial Times, 11/09/2016
“Why should pension scheme members take a haircut whilst nothing changes for shareholders?” JER

Pension disappointment: National solutions to a global problem - Dan McCrum & Elaine Moore, Financial Times, 31/08/2016
“People have to work longer, spend less while they’re working and save more”

The best way to build a NEST egg - Andrew Bounds, Financial Times, 30/08/2016
"You know NEST will be around in 15 years if anything goes wrong"

Pensions guarantee with no ifs, buts or maybes - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 16/08/2016
Any company with a subsidiary running its own pension scheme, should be required to guarantee its pensions.
See FT website (paywall)


Brexit and bond yields add to problem of pension schemes - Gavin Jackson, Financial Times, 01/08/2016
“The people who are bellyaching about the impact of QE are the same people who have not de-risked their pension schemes”

Tata seeks a way out of European steel woes - Patrick McGhee, Financial Times, 20/07/2016
“The idea that anybody would willingly take on a difficult business, and one with a big pensions scheme, just doesn’t make any sense.Thyssenkrupp would be bonkers.”

What is Baroness Altmann's legacy as Pensions Minister? - John Ralfe & Paul Lewis, BBC Radio 4 Money Box interview, 16/07/2016
"Ros Altmann's time as Pensions Minister was a bit of a damp squib"

“’Trust me I’m a trustee’ isn’t good enough for Halcrow pensioners” - Edward Evans, Financial Times Letters, 29/06/2016
Response to Chris Martin's letter from the Chair of the Halcrow Pensioners Association
See letter and JER article


Response to JER Halcrow article - Chris Martin, Financial Times Letters, 24/06/2016
John Ralfe’s speculation is based on unsubstantiated assumptions. From the Chair of the Halcrow Pension Scheme Trustees
See JER article


Submission to DWP on BSPS consultation - John Ralfe, Financial Times, 21/06/2016
The government should not agree to the BSPS proposal, supported by Tata Steel.

USS pension scheme will hobble UK universities for a generation - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 20/06/2016
USS’s deficit is largely self-inflicted — it continued to take equity bets for many years, rather than matching its assets and liabilities
See FT website (paywall)


Halcrow calls into question the UK's system of pension regulation - John Ralfe, Financial Times FTfm, 20/06/2016
See FT website(paywall)
See response from Chair of Halcrow Pension Scheme Trustees


In extremis all creditors should take a haircut, not just pension scheme members - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 11/06/2016
See FT website (paywall)

Putting a price on Green’s honour - Alistair Osborne, The Times, 10/06/2016
What should Sir Philip do about BHS pensions?

Got a final salary pension? Time to steel yourself - John Ralfe, Financial Times Money, 04/06/2016
Is the Consultation just about getting Tata Steel to retain, not sell, its businesses?
See FT website (paywall)


Rules on pension “rescue plans” are unclear - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 24/05/2016
Any implication that the regulator rejected Sir Philip’s offer capriciously strikes me as misleading.
See FT website (paywall)


Sir Phillip Green and the sale of BHS - Adam Parson presents, BBC 2 Newsnight, 13/05/2016

The Briefing Room - David Aaronovitch presents, BBC Radio 4, 12/05/2016
BHS was once one of the biggest names on the high street, but after falling into administration now it faces an uncertain future. In the first edition of The Briefing Room David Aaronovitch finds out whether it could have survived. Interviews with Jeremy Quin MP, JER, and others

Evidence to WPSC Inquiry into the Pensions Regulator & PPF - John Ralfe, Work and Pensons Select Committee, 04/05/2016
"The PPF safety net creates “moral hazard” for employers & trustees, which the Pensions Act is too weak to deal with"

Bullying billionaire - Oliver Shah, Sunday Times, 01/05/2016

BHS has lessons for the state of UK pension regulation - John Ralfe, Financial Times Money, 30/04/2016
"BHS does look like a return to the bad old days when companies could walk away from underfunded pension schemes"
See FT website (paywall)


BHS administration - John Ralfe & George McDonald (& Tanya Becket), BBC Radio 4 Today Programme interview, 25/04/2016
"The BHS pension scheme was always going to come back to bite Sir Philip"

Pension scheme members should have the same options as other creditors - Kerrin Rosenberg, Financial Times Letters, 13/04/2016

Tata Steel is a heavy burden for the Pension Protection Fund - John Ralfe, Financial Times FTfm, 11/04/2016
"Any PPF loss,will be a small percentage of the scheme’s liabilities, but due to its sheer size - £15bn - even a small percentage is a huge absolute loss"
See FT website (paywall)
See reply from Kerrin Rosenberg


Today Programme interview on Tata Steel pensions - John Ralfe (& Jo Lynam), BBC Radio 4 Today Programme , 04/04/2016
"It seems inevitable that the £15bn British Steel Pension Scheme with 130,000 members will enter the Pension Protection Fund" JER starts at about 3.30

Surprise but little rancour for Tata at Port Talbot - Michael Pooler & Andrew Bounds, Financial Times, 31/03/2016
“Tata Mumbai should now be crystal clear about what will happen to the 130,000 BSPS members"

Scrap tax relief & boost the basic state pension to benefit the lowest earners - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 21/03/2016

See FT website (paywall)


BT's pension is no Openreach dealbreaker - John Ralfe, FTfm Opinion, 14/03/2016
Sorting out BT’s pensions is just one of many operational and financial issues which must be addressed -but is certainly not a deal breaker.
See FT website (paywall)


Royal Mail considers union’s pitch for ‘new kind’ of pension plan - Michael Pooler & Josephine Cumbo, Financial Times, 14/03/2016
Please use the sharing tools found via the email icon at the top of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of FT.com T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email licensing@ft.com to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found at https://www.ft.com/tour. https://www.ft.com/content/465fcda4-05bd-11e7-aa5b-6bb07f5c8e12 “Royal Mail would require all of the money to be invested in matching bonds, so there would be no risk of a deficit, but at the same time no potential inflation reward for members.”

Green faces £80m BHS pensions bill - Oliver Shah, Sunday Times, 08/03/2016
Topshop billionaire ordered by regulator to pay up — as department store chain he sold for £1 fights to avoid going bust

WASPI Pension age "madness" hurts women - Ruth Emery, Sunday Times, 21/02/2016

Beware Amazon pensions - Chris Newlands, FTfm, 15/02/2016
“Just walked down Downing Street and into Number 10. Waiting to see PM. Quite surreal. Really lking fwd to helping more ppl I hope.” Baroness Altmann

Final salary pensions ‘killed off’ by excessive regulation - Josephine Cumbo, Financial Times, 07/02/2016
“It is fanciful to claim that ‘excessive regulation’ has killed off UK defined benefit schemes" JER

Timetable for JER WASPI proposal - John Ralfe, JER Website, 27/01/2016

What the Government should do about WASPI - John Ralfe, Daily Telegraph Opinion, 23/01/2016
"The wranglings over women's state pensions can be avoided, and it needn't cost vast sums"
See Telegraph website


Let doctors, and others, opt out of pension in exchange for higher pay - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 19/01/2016
How to introduce 'freedom & choice' into public sector pensions
See FT website (paywall)


JER response to consultation on changing tax treatment of pensions - John Ralfe, HMT consultation, 29/09/2015
The UK should move to a flat rate tax top-up for pension savings, fixed at a fiscally neutral rate of around 30 per cent.

The UK should move to a flat rate top-up for all pension savings - John Ralfe, Financial Times, 22/08/2015
Flat-rate tax top up is fairer & more efficient than the alternatives
See FT website (paywall)


Eton’s extraordinary new side-bet needs explaining - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 21/08/2015
Its (Old Etonian) adviser says, reassuringly, that it is “not unusual for bodies with big equity portfolios to borrow cheaply to invest more”
See FT website (paywall)


MPs’ official pension liabilities are pure Alice in Wonderland - John Ralfe, Financial Times FTfm, 20/07/2015
A proper public debate on MPs’ pay & pensions can happen only if the government is accurate and transparent about pension costs.
See FT website (paywall)


Letter to IPSA - Peter Tompkins & John Ralfe, Letter to IPSA, 26/06/2015

Letter to David Cameron - Peter Tompkins & John Ralfe, Letter to David Cameron, 26/06/2015
Letter explaining how Mr Cameron can ensure MPs do not receive the final salary pension bonus, without needing to persuade IPSA to change its decision.

THPT PPF levy - Directors, THPT accounts, 15/06/2015

THT Ltd 2014 - THT Ltd 2014, Companies House, 15/06/2015

Reply from the Chief Executive of The Pensions Regulator on Trafalgar House - Lesley Titcomb, JER Website, 15/06/2015
See JER original letter

Zombie scheme haunts Pension Protection Fund (Trafalgar House) - John Ralfe, Financial Times FTfm, 08/06/2015
"The Pensions Regulator should wind-up Trafalgar House Pensions"
See FT website (paywall)


Letter to The Pensions Regulator on Trafalgar House - John Ralfe, Financial Times, 03/06/2015
Call for TPR to wind-up Trafalgar House
See FTfm article based on the letter
See reply from TPR


Consultation Response to Section 75 Employer Debt in Multi-Employer DB schemes - John Ralfe, Letter to DWP, 22/05/2015

Church is in denial over its pension problems - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 19/05/2015
See FT website (paywall)

Savings alone - Richard Brooks, Private Eye, 15/04/2015
Highlights conflicts of interest of Ros Altmann

Public servants still promised more than the government can afford - John Ralfe, Financial Times Opinion, 08/04/2015
"The coalition government has fudged reforming public sector pensions"
See FT website (paywall)


Local Government UK pension schemes waste millions on high fees - Madison Marraige & Chris Newlands, Financial Times, 31/03/2015
“It is all part of the LGPS being dysfunctional” JER comment

Church of England accused of asset raid to pay for recruitment - Emma Boyde, Financial Times, 18/03/2015
The Church continues to understate its pension liabilities

Mirror shares make splash as Express interest is confirmed - Gideon Spanier, Times, 18/03/2015
“Whenever a business is in play with a pension deficit, the problems become exponentially more difficult” JER

Work on CDC schemes could be put on ice despite demand - Steve Johnson, Financial Times, 16/03/2015
“This is very embarrassing for Steve Webb as it was his flagship policy” JER

Head of BHS pension fund admits deficit is much higher than previously thought - Simon Goodley, The Guardian, 16/03/2015
Chain’s new owner, Retail Acquisitions, will meet pension fund trustees and regulator this week to discuss plans for financing deficit

Sir Philip Green and the BHS £1 sale - Jonathan Guthrie, Financial Times, 13/03/2015
"John Ralfe thinks a pension scheme deficit of over £100m that changes hands with the 171 stores is a key part of the transaction"

Getting government borrowings off-balance sheet - John Ralfe, Financial Times letters, 05/02/2015
"Is the plan for local councils to issue municipal bonds directly to investors just another expensive way for the government to get borrowings off balance sheet?"
See FT


Democratising finance: How passive funds changed investing - Judith Evans and Jonathan Eley, Financial Times Money, 31/01/2015
Analysis of passive investing

“If Defined Benefit pensions didn’t exist, would we invent them?” - John Ralfe, The Daily Telegraph, 12/01/2015
“However unpopular, we must all adjust to working longer and spending less”

Monarch Airlines pension fund reduced to a pauper - Steve Johnson, Financial Times , 30/11/2014
"This could cost the PPF c£170m, making it one of its biggest hits" JER

CDC pensions will work only if strictly regulated - John Ralfe, Financial Times FTfm, 17/11/2014
“Trust me I’m an actuary” is not good enough as the basis for a wholly new and untested type of pension
scan


“CDC pensions will work only if strictly regulated” - John Ralfe, Financial Times FTfm, 17/11/2014
“Trust me, I’m an actuary” is not good enough for a wholly new & untested type of pension
See FT website (paywall)


“Should you cash-in your DB pension?” - John Ralfe, The Daily Telegraph, 15/11/2014
“There is a whole investment industry itching to get its hands on your company pension”

Letter to Mr Steve Webb on regulating CDC pensions - John Ralfe, Letter, 14/11/2014

I’d rather give my surplus to the Wolf of Wall Street - Max King, Financial Times Letters, 10/10/2014
John Ralfe is dreaming if he thinks anyone theoretically liable for the 55 per cent tax on pension pot surpluses, as I am, was ever going to pay it.

Huge tax loss likely from new rules on pension pots - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 08/10/2014
The coalition government has created a simple way for the richest to avoid paying income tax and to pass on wealth tax free to their grandchildren.
See FT website (paywall)
See response from Mr Max King


Letter to Mr George Osborne - John Ralfe, Letter, 07/10/2014
Urging that the amount which can be given from an unused pension pot should be capped at, say, £50,000.

Submission to House of Commons Committee reviewing the Pensions Bill - John Ralfe, House of Commons Committee, 07/10/2014
Submission to House of Commons Committee reviewing the Pensions Bill

Agenda for CSFI Debate on "CDC" pensions - CSFI, CSFI website, 11/07/2014

BT faces big payments to plug pension deficit - Daniel Thomas & Josephine Cumbo, Financial Times, 02/07/2014
“Although BT is trying desperately to reinvent itself as a high-tech 21st century company, it will continue to carry a huge “old fashioned” pension scheme for many decades” JER

Deficit of UK regional pensions questioned (LGPS) - Chris Flood, Financial Times FTfm, 23/06/2014
John Ralfe claimed the LGPS’s funding deficit was close to £100bn in 2013, rather than the official £47bn.

Savers need protection over long retirement, Osborne warned - Miles Costello, The Times, 23/06/2014
Article on letter to Mr Steve Webb on Deferred Annuities

Letter to Mr Steve Webb on deferred annuities - John Ralfe, JER Website, 17/06/2014
Requiring people to buy an insurance policy against running out of money in old age makes the difficult decision of how quickly to spend pension savings much easier.

CDC pensions are a Ponzi con trick - John Ralfe, Financial Times FTfm, 16/06/2014
The Netherlands, held up as a model for the UK, is moving away from collective pensions
Also see FTfm piece from 2012


Not Ponzis, but pyramids - Buttonwood (Philip Coggan), Economist, 16/06/2014
I don't think John Ralfe is right to call CDC "Ponzi cons" as those are outright frauds, and that is not really the case

A Queen’s Speech contradiction - John Ralfe, Financial Times, 09/06/2014
Without intergenerational risk sharing how can CDC be a better way to build up a pension pot than the best DC pensions we already have?
see FT website (paywall)


Restoring fairness to British pensions - Steve Webb, Financial Times, 09/06/2014
Collective schemes will provide more stability and security for savers while the Budget changes will provide more control for people when they draw their savings.

Dutch defend Queen’s UK pension plan - Madison Marraige, Financial Times, 09/06/2014
“The Dutch pension system is fantastic, but its society, economy and industry is different to the UK. You cannot simply transplant one aspect." JER

UK academics face 10% pay cut over pension reform - Steve Johnson, Financial Times, 26/05/2014
“The significant annual saving for universities is a 10 per cent pay cut for 130,000 of USS's active members” JER

Alarm bells ring for active fund managers - Chris Flood & Chris Newlands, Financial Times, 12/05/2014
The tide is gradually turning against active management, as pension funds start shifting to passive funds in order to keep costs down

National accounts shake-up causes confusion - Chris Giles, Financial Times, 28/04/2014
International comparisons of national economies were called into question over huge differences in the way countries are introducing new standards for national accounts.

Data shake-up turns UK into nation of savers - Chris Giles, Financial Times, 08/04/2014
From now on ONS figures will count future pension rights as if they were present income.

UK Coal’s insolvency could cost PPF £180m - Steve Johnson, Financial Times, 07/04/2014
“Circumstances have brought things to a head very quickly, but the two complex & costly restructurings were always just papering over the cracks." JER

UK’s biggest coal miner on verge of collapse - Andrew Bounds, Financial Times, 02/04/2014
“UK Coal is a £400m hit for the PPF, its biggest ever loss." JER

No saving please, we’re British - John Plender, Financial Times, 31/03/2014
People will, as the pensions consultant John Ralfe argues, overestimate likely investment returns and underestimate longevity.

Baby boomers put annuity market on trial - Pauline Skypala, Financial Times, 31/03/2014
Killing off annuities will leave gap for pension payments

James Lloyd: Why I think the Budget was a bad day for pensions policy - James Lloyd, Money Marketing, 25/03/2014
The key test set for the Chancellor’s reforms now – and in future by historians – will be whether they result in higher incomes on average for DC savers.

Beware the consensus rabbit - Jill Rutter, Institute for Government, 25/03/2014
Everyone now agrees that pension reforms are important. Genuine open debate and challenge is needed now to ensure that this important reform works.

This pension reform is no liberation – and Labour must explain why - John McTernan, The Guardian, 25/03/2014
The pension system may be flawed, but it is essential. The Tories are just trying to destroy it

UK Budget 2014: Economic quackery and political humbug - Tim Harford (The Undercover economist), Financial Times, 19/03/2014
George Osborne views economic logic as an inconvenient distraction

Annuity change could happen tomorrow - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 19/02/2014
The pensions minister could, with the stroke of his pen, immediately improve the annuity market.
See FT website (paywall)


“Dear Archbishop, the Church of England is in pension denial” - John Ralfe, Financial Times FTfm, 03/02/2014
“The Church is playing a dangerous game of double-or-quits"
See FT website (paywall)
See reply from Church


BT Group pension shortfall rises to £7.3bn - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 03/02/2014
“Since investment returns over the year have done little to close deficits, companies must continue the hard slog of making cash contributions.” JER

Reply to my letter from Church Pensions Board - Bernadette Kenny, Church of England website, 28/01/2014
"The Church has acted properly over the Clergy Pension Scheme"
See Church website


Why collective DC is a con trick - John Ralfe, MoneyMarketing, 27/01/2014
CDC is a con, persuading individuals that the risk is less than it really is.

An unholy pension hole - Robert Peston, Robert Peston blog BBC, 21/01/2014
Comments on JER letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Church is not telling "the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth" about its pension scheme.
See JER letter to the Archbishop


Proposal for switchable annuities ‘unworkable’, says industry - Josephine Cumbo, Financial Times, 06/01/2014
“This idea is well meaning, but half-baked,” JER

US public finance: Day of reckoning - Neil Munshi & Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 30/12/2013
Chicago is tackling the worst pension crisis in the US. But methods that got it into its bind are still used across America.

CDC is not a magic wand to make risk disappear - John Ralfe, Financial Times, 13/12/2013
Is Robin Ellison justified in claiming that CDC schemes can provide a pension 40 per cent higher than the equivalent defined contribution pension?
See FT website (paywall)


MPs – more pay, less pension, same perks - John Ralfe, Times letters, 10/12/2013
Is it pension smoke-and-mirrors at IPSA?

CDC pensions considered by many as better value - Robin Ellison, Financial Times Letters, 10/12/2013
CDC schemes are not perfect, but then no form of pension provision is without its particular drawbacks.

We can start making retirement saving safer straight away - Lord Hutton, Financial Times, 02/12/2013
"The proposed collective defined contribution schemes merely transfer risk"
This is remarkably similar to JER's FTfm article of April 2012


GPG shares fall as pensions regulator uncovers underfunded schemes - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 16/11/2013
“This is the first time the Pensions Regulator has stepped in before a company has failed,” JER

Assets, liabilities & old age tensions - John Ralfe, Times Higher Education Supplement, 14/11/2013
"Without a huge leap in bond yields or equity prices before the March 2014 actuarial valuation, member and university contributions will have to go up significantly".

Scare stories about USS liabilities are overblown - Ros Altmann, Financial Times FTfm, 11/11/2013
"A fund the size of USS cannot fully de-risk, but scare stories of student fee hikes & hidden deficits are well wide of the mark".

Mad Hatter’s pension plan - Mike Page, Financial Times Letters, 08/11/2013
"It is not John Ralfe, but Professor Dennis Leech & Con Keating who have joined Alice in Wonderland".
See FT website (paywall)


Fantasy world of pension deficits - Prof Dennis Leech & Con Keating, Financial Times, 04/11/2013
Bizarre attack on JER's analysis of USS's financial health
See FT website (paywall)
See FT letter in response from Mike Page


’Actuaries’ magic pencil’ hides UK university pension deficit - John Ralfe, Financial Times FTfm, 28/10/2013
“To make good A £10.5bn deficit, universities would have to pay £600m a year, increased in line with inflation, for 20 years”
See FT website (paywall)
plus response 1 , response 2 & response 3


University pensions black hole 'even worse than thought' - Andy Verity, BBC News, 25/10/2013
"There is a whole degree of denial. USS is in denial about its real financial situation. Universities are in denial." JER

Newsnight piece on USS - Newsnight, BBC 2 Newsnight, 24/10/2013
Newsnight on JER's analysis of USS

Risk still attached to holding equities - Zvi Bodie & John Ralfe, Financial Times Letter (US), 16/09/2013
Many City and Wall Street practitioners make a handsome living pushing this misconception.
See FT website (paywall)


Risk still attached to holding equities pdf - Zvi Bodie & John Ralfe, Financial Times, 16/09/2013
Equities do have a higher expected return than inflation-protected bonds, but this is simply a reward for the risk of holding equities, not a “free lunch” or a “loyalty bonus” for long-term investors.
See FT website


Equities have value around which they rotate - Andrew Smithers, Financial Times Letters, 12/09/2013
"improved returns can be achieved only by switching out of equities when the market is seriously overvalued"
See JER letter


Equities v gilts? It’s no contest - Mark Evans, Financial Times Letters, 06/09/2013
John Ralfe extols the virtues of index-linked gilts without mentioning some of the potential downside.
See JER letter


Call me Mr Lucky - Robin Gowers, Financial Times Letters, 06/09/2013
John Ralfe is wrong about outguessing the market being a 50/50 chance.
See JER letter


Equities’ value is an irrelevance - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 04/09/2013
Inflation-linked bonds are crucial for all pension savers, especially those with little other capital.
See FT website (paywall)


Coal producer rejected mines bid in favour of restructuring - Andrew Bounds, Financial Times, 07/08/2013
“Given the high risk of the company defaulting, in truth, the market value of the £60m loan notes is negligible” JER

UK Coal - Richard Brooks, Private Eye, 07/08/2013
Miner hiccup

Rule setters and enforcers largely to blame in Detroit - W Paul McCrossan, Financial Times Letters, 01/08/2013
Lax legislation combined with lax professional and prudential standards create the environment in which unaffordable promises can long be made and maintained for years.

Kodak pension deal marred by confusion - Madison Marraige, Financial Times FTfm, 29/07/2013
“It is not clear how many of the KPP members currently voting will fully understand this issue to allow them to make a properly informed decision." JER

Charities rattle tin for their pensions - Ben Marlow, Sunday Times, 28/07/2013
“The many people who make charitable donations each year do so to further the core work of the charities, not to plug pension deficits" JER

Bonds to benefit from ageing population - Michael Stothard, Financial Times, 26/07/2013
“Whatever the noise in bond prices from quantitative easing, underlying structural changes in pensions will support fixed income.” JER

Innovative approach of UK Coal’s board preserved value - Jonson Cox, Financial Times Letters, 23/07/2013
Businesses with unwieldy pension deficits present unique challenges and require an innovative approach.
See FT website (paywall)
See JER article


Coal Comfort? - Julian O 'Halloran and Nicola Dowling, BBC Radio 4 File on 4, 23/07/2013
What does the future hold for the industry, the miners and local communities. And at what cost to the taxpayer?

Backlash risk from opencast mining - Steve Leary, Financial Times Letters, 22/07/2013
Is the PPF prepared for the furious backlash it would face if it was seen to be behind turning our green and pleasant land into opencast mines?
See FT website (paywall)
See JER article


PPF responds to criticism of UK Coal pension deal - Martin Clarke, Financial Times FTfm, 22/07/2013
Any allegation that we accepted a bad deal for levy payers as a result of political pressure may make an interesting conspiracy theory.
See FT website (paywall)
See JER article


San Jose and unions set for court battle over pensions - Jim Christie, Reuters, 22/07/2013
San Jose's pension reform does not reduce benefits already earned by employees, but would require them to either pay higher contributions to maintain current benefits or receive lower benefits.

UK Coal pension members poised to be better off as PPF takes over - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 20/07/2013
“The PPF’s commutation factors are much more generous than the average company scheme and this generosity increases the levy charged to companies to fund the PPF,” JER

PPF digs deep in UK Coal deal - John Ralfe, FTfm, 15/07/2013
What political pressure did the PPF face to “save 2,000 jobs” by keeping mines open?
see FT website (paywall)
See PPF response and Coalfield Resources (UK Coal) response


MPs prefer to reject pay rise and keep generous pensions - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 13/07/2013
How much is an MP’s total pay and pension worth today and under Ipsa’s recommendations?
See FT website (paywall)


Coal mines seek pension rescue deal - BBC News, BBC website, 01/07/2013
On the Today Programme, John Ralfe, a pensions consultant, described the expected deal with UK Coal as "unprecedented".

PPF to take on UK Coal pensions - Andrew Bounds, Financial Times, 29/06/2013
Mr Ralfe said he believed it to be the biggest pensions rescue the PPF has taken on since it was created a decade ago.“The PPF needs this like it needs a hole in the head.”

Private pensions industry faces radical restructuring - Jim Pickard, Sarah Neville & Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 18/06/2013
"John Ralfe said Mr Webb was looking for a “magic money tree” which did not exist".
See CDC could lead to Ponzi schemes FTfm April 2012


Yawning deficits force Dutch pension funds to cut payouts - Norma Cohen & Matthew Steinglass, Financial Times, 28/05/2013
Dutch pension schemes are among the most tightly regulated of any in Europe or North America. By law, they must hold sufficient assets to cover 105 per cent of promised benefits, unlike those elsewhere allowed to run huge deficits.

Royal Mail runs risk of fresh pension deficit - Steve Johnson, Financial Times FTfm, 27/05/2013
Royal Mail has been criticised for running the risk of building up a fresh pension deficit after its previous black hole was “magicked away” by the government.

Tata writedown sparks talk of UK sell-off - Mark Wembridge, Financial Times, 15/05/2013
British Steel’s pension fund, as a former nationalised industry, is one of the largest UK schemes with about 150,000 members and roughly £13bn of assets.

BT shares soar on dividend and outlook news - Henry Mance & Mark Wembridge, Financial Times, 11/05/2013
John Ralfe said that, as things stood, BT would have to double annual payments to its pension fund to £655m for the three years from 2015.

Pensions watchdog under fire over £419m Kodak settlement - Jamie Dunkley, The Independent, 06/05/2013
"We take a transparent approach and, at the outcome of a number of key cases, we have published reports setting out our decision-making." The Pensions Regulator

Kodak pension deal brings regulator into question - John Ralfe, FTfm, 06/05/2013
Has the Pensions Regulator given up on regulating pensions?
See FT website (paywall)
See response from Chairman of Kodak Pension Plan May 13th 2013


UK's largest coal producer 'seeks voluntary liquidation' - Jennifer Rankin, The Guardian, 02/05/2013
"Last year's convoluted restructuring, approved by the Pensions Regulator, only managed to paper over the cracks."

Bankrupt Kodak to shift film arm to UK pensioners - Louise Lucas, Financial Times, 30/04/2013
Eastman Kodak is to offload its outdated camera film business and other assets to British pensioners in return for erasing an estimated $2.8bn of claims

Inside Business: Real innovation needed to juice returns - Richard Waters, Financial Times, 25/04/2013
Jobs’ scorn of financial engineering may have led him to neglect his company’s mounting cash pile

Threat to pensions of 60,000 Premier Foods workers - Simon Bowers, The Guardian, 25/04/2013
"It is difficult to see how a company with a market value of under £200m can properly support pension schemes with around £4.4bn of liabilities." John Ralfe

Public sector pension liabilities don’t merit even a footnote - John Ralfe, Financial Times, 23/04/2013
Public sector pensions – as contractual and legally binding obligations of the UK government – are debt, just like gilts, and should be properly included in the official public finance statistics.
See FT website (paywall)


Search for quality bonds hits pensions - Norma Cohen , Financial Times, 15/04/2013
John Ralfe says that companies complaining about the effects of accounting rules really only have themselves to blame.

UK pension deficits set to rise by £100bn - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 15/04/2013
“Too many companies continue to take massive bets in their pension funds which they would not dream of taking in their treasury department,” said John Ralfe, who has long warned of the dangers of mismatching assets and liabilities.

Coats shortfall threatens loss for PPF - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 13/04/2013
“As a small company supporting a very large pension scheme, Coats should be near the top of the Pension Regulator’s worry list,” Mr Ralfe said. “If it were to go bust the PPF would stand to lose about £600m, before any recoveries from selling company assets, one of the PPF’s largest ever hits.”

Watchdog probes Coats pension funding - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 12/04/2013
The Pensions Regulator has taken the unusual step of launching an investigation into whether more support needs to be offered to the underfunded pension scheme of Coats

EU life insurers not at risk, says study - Brooke Masters and Alistair Gray, Financial Times, 08/04/2013
Most European insurers will not be forced to alter their investment strategies by the new Solvency II risk-based capital requirements, says a study that contradicts some industry predictions.

Banks need capital, not pseudo-science - John Kay, Financial Times, 03/04/2013
The belief that the right response to the failures of Basel I and II is a more elaborate version of the same global regime is a triumph of hope over experience.

Creditors fight Stockton bankruptcy claim - April Dembosky , Financial Times, 27/03/2013
Wall Street creditors are trying to stop Stockton from seeking municipal bankruptcy protection, arguing that the city wants to restructure debts “on the backs of bondholders” rather than trying to reduce its massive pension obligations.

Unconventional asset classes widen their appeal - Jane Croft, Financial Times, 19/03/2013
"We have seen a desperate hunt for the "next new big thing" to plug pension deficits"

UK pension lobbyists have got it wrong - John Ralfe, Financial Times FTfm, 11/03/2013
Pension contributions do not disappear down a rathole, never to be seen again
See FT website (paywall)
See JER FTfm article December 2012 "smoothing won't solve our pension problems"


Illinois Is Accused of Fraud by S.E.C. - Mary Williams Walsh, New York Times, 11/03/2013
For the second time in history, federal regulators have accused an American state of securities fraud, finding that Illinois misled investors about the condition of its public pension system from 2005 to 2009.
See "Pension problems: How did Illinois get here?" December 2012


All in this together (John Lewis) - Lombard (Alison Smith), Financial Times (Scroll down), 08/03/2013
The two areas where staff most benefit from John Lewis 's warm embrace are bonuses and pensions.

Pension woes weigh on Illinois budget - Neil Munshi , Financial Times, 07/03/2013
“Without pension reform, within two years, Illinois will be spending more on public pensions than on education,” the Governor said.

All aboard the audit merry-go-round - Chris Newlands, Financial Times FTfm, 04/03/2013
Two weeks ago a group of 30 European institutional investors and investor associations released a position paper outlining the “weaknesses” they observed in the audit sector.

Last rites for Old King Coal - Karl West, Sunday Times, 03/03/2013
UK Coal's pension deficit should give Ministers the jitters

RBS moves closer to privatisation - Patrick Jenkins, Financial Times, 01/03/2013
The underlying pension liabilities are almost 150 per cent of RBS’s market capitalisation of £21bn, so the scheme is very large in relation to the company.

Our problem is insufficient savings - Lord Desai, Financial Times Letters, 21/02/2013
We are saddled with a loose monetary policy which only postpones the solution by offering false solace to companies and house owners, allowing them to put off deleveraging.

Tax avoidance: tackling marketed avoidance schemes - Public Accounts Committee, www.parliament.uk, 19/02/2013
Public Accounts Committee calls on HMRC to name and shame those who sell tax avoidance schemes

Austria’s 97 years of loss offer lessons - John Authers, Financial Times, 09/02/2013
According to the latest Credit Suisse Global Investment Returns Yearbook, produced each year by Elroy Dimson, Paul Marsh and Mike Staunton, those who bought Austrian stocks just before the first world war would have sat on losses for 97 years.

Debate heats up over Public Pension Fund Discount Rates - Frances Denmark, Institutional Investor, 04/02/2013
Record-low interest rates stir controversy and expose a major diffeence between US and Europe

The trouble with bond yields - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 02/02/2013
Are current bond yileds abnormally low by historical standards?

Corporate tax posturing should stop - John Gapper, Financial Times, 31/01/2013
Companies are complying with laws that governments could change if they wished

Employers attack pension deficit proposal - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 30/01/2013
A government proposal to allow pension schemes to smooth pension assets and liabilities does not go nearly far enough, the NAPF has told the Treasury select committee.
NB The NAPF is now admitting that it does not want to smooth pension assets and liabilities, rather it wants to magically shrink the value of liabilities by applying a high discount rate.
See JER's FTfm article December 2012


Charities struggle with pension fund deficits - Ruth Sullivan, Financial Times FTfm, 28/01/2013
“This is just the tip of the iceberg. Charities tend to get forgotten about when it comes to pension funds and their problems,”

Call to close gap on funding UK pensions - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 28/01/2013
Anyone who thought there was a quick fix to ease the burden on employers with underfunded pension schemes should think again
See JER's FTfm article December 2012


Barnardo’s to close pension scheme - Ruth Sullivan, Financial Times FTfm, 21/01/2013
“Closing the scheme to existing members is too little too late".

Too much rides on central banks steering stable course - John Plender, Financial Times, 16/01/2013
Unconventional measures turned 2012 into a dash for trash

Taxation: Unsafe offshore - Vanessa Houlder, Financial Times, 14/01/2013
Governments want to close tax loopholes but risk scaring off big foreign investors

Labour eyes pension grab to fund jobs - George Parker & Kiran Stacey, Financial Times, 04/01/2013
Britain’s top earners would face a £1bn tax grab on their pensions contributions to fund a compulsory job scheme for the long-term unemployed, under plans to be set out by Labour on Friday.

Bad Month: Pensions Policy Institute - Pensions Insight, Pensions Insight, 03/01/2013
The think-tank came under fire for its analysis of public sector pension costs

Pension Problems: How Did Illinois Get Here? - Alex Keefe, Northern Public Radio, 19/12/2012
Lawmakers head back to Springfield in early January to try to tackle the state’s massive pension crisis. Illinois’ retirement systems have unfunded liabilities of at least $95 billion– and counting.

Smoothing risk to taxpayers - Jane Curtis & Norma Cohen, Financial Times video, 12/12/2012
The way UK companies value their pensions schemes could change after a proposal by George Osborne to allow the use of historical interest rates. Jane Curtis of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries explains why this risks underfunding pension schemes, eventually swamping the existing protection scheme and forcing a bailout by taxpayers.

Smoothing won't solve our pension problems - John Ralfe, Financial Times FTfm, 10/12/2012
Smoothing pension assets and liabilities disguises deficits, but does not make them disappear.
See FT website (paywall)
See FT article "Pension proposal raises eyebrows"


Fiscal talks could result in corporate pension funding relief - Hazel Bradford, Pensions & Investments US, 10/12/2012
“I'm sorry they are still fighting the last war. Congress knows that PBGC's finances need to be shored up" Director of the PBGC

JPMorgan nears £500m bonus tax deal - Patrick Jenkins, Financial Times, 08/12/2012
JP Morgan is nearing a settlement with the UK government in which the US bank and its employees could pay close to £500m in back taxes that were avoided through the use of an offshore trust for bonus payments

Growing old, Stones-style - Gillian Tett, Financial Times, 08/12/2012
If ‘pensioners’ can now dance so wildly on stage, might it be time to rethink the whole concept of retirement?

Pensions proposal raises eyebrows - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 06/12/2012
Making pension promises more affordable for employers might also mean allowing them to ease up on funding their schemes, making retirement less secure for workers.

Middle earners also suffer in pensions raid on wealthy - Patrick Hosking, The Times, 06/12/2012
Discussion of changes to tax relief on pension contributions

Executives caught by lower pensions net - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 05/12/2012
“A 55-year old consultant on the salary of £150,000, with 30 years in the NHS scheme could be hit.”

‘Shares for rights’ scheme to go ahead - Brian Groom, Financial Times, 05/12/2012
The coalition is going ahead with George Osborne’s “shares for rights” scheme despite the plans receiving a poor welcome.

Extra costs in new-look PFI spark row - Gill Plimmer & Jim Pickard, Financial Times, 05/12/2012
The Treasury was at loggerheads with infrastructure investors over claims that taxpayers might have to pay more for schools, hospitals and roads under the remodelled PFI.

Report queries clergy pensions - Church Times, Church Times, 03/12/2012
A spokesman for the Archbishops' Council has defended the state of the Clergy Pension Scheme, after JER said that its deficit would put a burden on congregations.
See FTfm article


Letter to PPI from 29 economists & pension experts - John Ralfe + 28 others, JER Website, 30/11/2012
"As economists and pension experts from the UK, US, The Netherlands and Australia, we are writing to you about the recent PPI Report on public sector pensions".
See FTfm article


Church faces huge pension deficit - Chris Flood, Financial Times FTfm, 26/11/2012
"How the Church deals with its pension deficit is about more than money. It is about the Church’s management competence and integrity"
See response in Church Times


Some pension estimates for the BBC’s new director-general - Jim Pickard, Financial Times Westminster blog, 26/11/2012

Retirement Roosevelt - Norma Cohen, Financial Times Lombard (scroll down), 23/11/2012
A New Deal is taking shape in the UK, a nation plagued by worklessness. Unfortunately, actuaries would benefit most.

If you want to tax the rich, do it in a way that is clear and fair - Paul Johnson, Financial Times, 22/11/2012
Speculation is growing that the Chancellor will look to restrict tax relief on pensions as a way of raising revenue.

Pensions plan risks hitting less wealthy - Josephine Cumbo, Financial Times, 21/11/2012
The real story is that the losers would be senior people in the DB public sector, for example headteachers and doctors.

Submission on Public Service Pensions Bill - John Ralfe, Public Bill Committee Website, 21/11/2012
In making changes to public sector pensions it is crucial that the real annual economic costs of the pension promises are used. I believe that the official annual costs, calculated by the Government Actuary’s Department, and quoted by the government, are materially understated.

Why rich guys want to raise the retirement age - Ezra Klein, Washington Post Wonkblog, 21/11/2012
The the life expectancy of the richest half of Americans has risen by six years since 1977. For the poorer half, however, the increase has been a mere 1.3 years.

Bonds switch signals end of cult of equity - David Oakley, Financial Times, 20/11/2012
It is a once in a generation moment. For the first time in more than 50 years UK pension funds are holding more bonds than equities.

Options shrink for tax rise on rich - George Parker, Vanessa Houlder & Ed Hammond, Financial Times, 20/11/2012
John Ralfe has warned that cutting the threshold to £40,000 might catch higher-paid hospital consultants, GPs, headteachers and senior civil servants, not just the super-rich.

“Reforms to greatly reduce value of public pensions” - Niki Cleal, Financial Times FTfm, 19/11/2012
The PPI agrees with the government’s approach and has used the same discount rate in the research that the government uses to set employer contributions - CPI + 3 %.
See FT website (paywall)
See JER FTfm article "Understated costs a poor legacy"


How George Entwistle missed out on a much more generous pension - Jim Pickard, Financial Times Westminster blog, 19/11/2012
At the time of the corporation’s last report and accounts Mr Entwistle was eligible for a pension of £59,000 when he reaches retirement age at 60.

Concern grows over US pensions’ unrealistic targets - Robert Cookson, Financial Times, 19/11/2012
True to the stereotype of America as a nation of optimists, US pension funds are much more confident than their overseas peers about their ability to generate returns.

PBGC’s Joshua Gotbaum Wants to Put His Own Agency Out of Business - Frances Denmark, Institutional Investor, 19/11/2012
As head of what is fast becoming the defined benefit pension provider of last resort, Joshua Gotbaum has joined the ranks of industry leaders out to remake the U.S. retirement system.

Another coalition conjuring trick - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 17/11/2012
Rather than taxpayers taking on a £9bn deficit, we appear to be making a £28.5bn windfall – a conjuring trick on a breathtaking scale!
See Robert Peston's blog "Royal Mail and HMG's creative accounting" May 2009


US pension insurer demands funding reform - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 17/11/2012
The safety net that protects retirement income for millions of US workers has unveiled its largest ever loss.

Letter 2 to the PPI on its report on public sector pensions - John Ralfe, JER Website, 16/11/2012
Response to the PPI's letter
See PPI's letter to JER November 7th 2012
See PPI's response to Treasury Consultation on public sector pension discount rate Macrh 2011
See JER letter 1 to PPI November 5th 2012


Policy ploys risk UK economic credibility - Chris Giles, Financial Times, 15/11/2012
I no longer believe that this government is serious about economic or fiscal policy. Nor does it appear the institutional checks and balances work to protect the public. security crisis for Barack Obama

Understated pensions costs a poor legacy - John Ralfe, Financial Times FTfm, 12/11/2012
The real cost of public sector pensions has not been properly addressed by the coalition government (pdf)
See FT website (paywall)
See PPI response in FTfm "Reforms to greatly reduce value of public pensions”


Black days for Old King Coal - Karl West, Sunday Times , 11/11/2012
Weighed down by pension liabilities, the last big miner wants to turn its back on the pits, reports

Brown critic faces similar accusations - Chris Giles, Financial Times, 10/11/2012
Mr Osborne exposed himself to criticism that he is now embracing painting a rosier picture of the public finance.

Advisers face complaints over film funds - Andrew Bounds, Financial Times, 10/11/2012
500 investors are considering complaints against their advisers for allegedly mis-selling investments in film production companies and other alternative structures.

Insurers launch annuities consultation - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 09/11/2012
The process of buying an annuity has previously been criticised as opaque, incomprehensible and fraught with sharp practice.

Holy pension hole (Church of England) - Robert Peston, Peston blog, 08/11/2012
A research note by the pensions consultant John Ralfe calculates the hole in the Church's pension scheme at the end of October as approximately £500m.

PPI response to JER's letter - Niki Cleal, JER Website, 07/11/2012
PPI is not prepared to revise its Report, despite JER's criticisms

PPI response to JER's letter 2 - PPI, JER Website, 07/11/2012
Copy of PPI's response to the Treasury's consultation on public sector pension discount rate March 2011

How will the new Archbishop deal with the Church's pension problem? - John Ralfe, JER Website, 06/11/2012
The new Archbishop must face up to the Church’s pension problems, not sweep them under the carpet, which, sadly, has happened for many years. How the Church deals with its pension deficit is not just about money, but about its management competence and integrity.

Letter to the PPI on its report on public sector pensions - John Ralfe, JER Website, 05/11/2012
The Pensions Policy Institute's Report is seriously flawed and understates the cost of ther new public sector pension terms and understates the gap with private sector pensions.

Comet's long tail - Lombard (Jonathan Guthrie), Financial Times (Scroll down), 02/11/2012
The Comet scheme had liabilities on April 30 of some €400m compared with just €52m for French pensions. The total of €450m is €106m more than Darty’s current market capitalisation.

Are voluntary contributions right for your corporate pension plan? - Franηois Pellerin & Jodan Ledford, UBS Asset Management US website, 01/11/2012
Voluntary contributions can strengthen a plan’s funded status, and offer an attractive return on economic investment compared with other uses of capital.

A solution to pensions apartheid - Steve Johnson, Financial Times FTfm, 29/10/2012
UK pensions minister Steve Webb was last week out and about attempting to drum up interest in a putative third way for the nation’s pension system.

Move to ease pension shortfalls rejected - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 19/10/2012
Actuaries have taken the unusual step of opposing measures to ease pension scheme funding pressures, proposed by the body representing their biggest clients.

Trades of Gray (USS) - Private Eye, Private Eye, 18/10/2012
As pensions expert John Ralfe explained, "the fund;s trustees took a huge bet and it hasn't paid off".

Dutch funds face cutting pensions - Sophia Grene, Financial Times FTfm, 08/10/2012
More than 80 Dutch pension funds will have to cut payments to pensioners for the first time ever from April next year, unless they can improve their financial situation

Time to change the rules of the game - Pauline Skypala, Financial Times FTfm, 01/10/2012
It is a sad indictment that tougher regulation seems the only way to protect investors against an industry seeking to profit at their expense.

Pension injections fight to trim shortfalls - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 01/10/2012
Britain’s largest employers have poured roughly £175bn into their underfunded pension schemes over the past decade, but have made only a modest dent in shortfalls because liabilities are rising so much faster than asset values.

NB Mercer's figure of £175bn deficit contributions by the FTS350 over the last 10 years is much higher than the £55bn to £60bn figures suggested by the ONS. I have asked Mercer to make their figure available to identify the difference. JER


Generation Effects of the new pensions contract - Frank van Alphen, Netspar magazine , 01/10/2012
Researching the generational effects of any changes proposed in the pension sector has become standard practice. Last year, the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) had to develop a method for such calculations entirely from scratch.

Gilts vs assets: QE affects investment choices - Josephine Cumbo, Financial Times, 21/09/2012
An analysis by John Ralfe found that the FTSE 100, would still be lagging below 4,000 today instead of having risen nearly 50 per cent from its lows in early March 2009 were it not for the Bank’s asset purchase programme.

USS pension deficit triples - Robert Cookson, Financial Times FTfm, 17/09/2012
In choosing to hold such a high proportion of risky assets, the USS is “absolutely out on a limb”, said John Ralfe The scheme has “taken a huge bet and it hasn’t paid off”.
See JER RBC Capital Market Note "Spotlight on USS" May 2006
See JER FTfm article "Robbing Peter to pay Paul’s pension" January 2011


Don’t Stick Taxpayers With Underfunded Corporate Pensions - Editorial, Bloomberg, 17/09/2012
When Congress passed a transportation bill in July, it included important changes to rules governing corporate pensions. Unfortunately, these changes will allow companies to underfund their pension plans, which will cost taxpayers down the road.

QE damage claim rebuffed - Richard Cookson, Financial Times FTfm, 03/09/2012
The UK pension industry’s claim that it has been badly damaged by the Bank of England’s QE has been challenged by John Ralfe, the independent pensions consultant.

Sorting fact from fiction on Bank’s QE - Jonathan Davis, Financial Times FTfm, 03/09/2012
Like John Ralfe, the pensions consultant well known to these pages, I was sufficiently struck by the Bank of England’s claims about the impact of QE to take a deeper look at their calculations, and in particular at their estimates of how the first two rounds of QE have affected the performance of the stock market.

QE operations a boon for FTSE 100 - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 30/08/2012
Although it is not the primary intention of QE to boost share prices, QE represents an unprecedented support operation for the stock market and on a massive scale.

Where would the FTSE100 be without QE? - John Ralfe, JER website, 30/08/2012
Without QE, the FTSE100 would, according to the Bank, have been a measly 3,940 at May 31st 2012, only 8 per cent higher than the near lows of 3,646 at March 4th 2009 when QE was announced

BoE finds QE hurt defined benefit pensions - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 24/08/2012
The paper concludes QE mainly helped underpin the economy by driving down long-term gilt yields, encouraging investors to instead buy equities and corporate bonds.

Court Tells San Francisco Pension System to Change its Strategy - Leonna Orr, CIO website, 20/08/2012
A civil grand jury in San Francisco has told the city’s employee pension system to change its investment strategy, assumed rate of return, and transparency policies.

A realistic discount rate for pensions - Robert Pozen & Theresa Hamacher, FTfm, 20/08/2012
What if today’s historically low interest rates are not some aberration that will quickly disappear? If so, temporary increases in the discount rate will only delay, rather than prevent, the day or reckoning for pensions.

OBR projections tell different story on public pensions - Neil Walsh, Financial Times, 17/08/2012
John Ralfe (Letters, August 14) would do well to read the Office for Budget Responsibility’s latest fiscal sustainability report, published last month.
See FT website (paywall)
JER comment. The OBR makes the same "category mistake" as HMT, treating public sector pension payments as a "flow", like old age pensions, rather than repaying a "stock" of liabilities, like gilts. It doesn't look at the annual cost of new pension promises when they are given, but rather the percentage of GDP when the pensions are paid.


US pensions snap up 30-year bonds - Vivianne Rodrigues & Michael Mackenzie , Financial Times, 16/08/2012
Sales of long-term US corporate debt this week surpassed the entire amount sold in 2011 in what is shaping up as a banner year for long-term funding.

Public sector pensions make mockery of Whirehall savings - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 14/08/2012
Sadly, the coalition government continues to understate the real annual cost to taxpayers of new public sector pension promises; it also refuses to recognise that the accumulated £1tn public sector pension liabilities are debt, and to include this anywhere in official government accounts.
See FT website (paywall)


School bonds could trigger fiscal shock - Gillian Tett, Financial Times, 10/08/2012
At best, this is a case of kicking the can down the road; at worst, a case of the government dancing with loan sharks.

Employers need to be brutally honest on pension risk - Steve Hardwick, Financial Times Letters, 08/08/2012
Lord Hutton's basic error is in thinking that pensions provided post-retirement are somehow different in nature just because they fall within an employment contract rather than an insurance contract.

Ottawa takes tough stance on pension fund relief - Louise Egan and Susan Taylor , Reuters, 07/08/2012
As in other countries, the scope of the Canadian problem is huge. Ninety per cent of the roughly 400 defined-benefit pension plans overseen by Canada’s federal regulator are underfunded.

How the GASB's New Pension Standards Could Make Things Worse - Josh Rudolf and Jonathan Richter, Huffington Post, 07/08/2012
When our pension time bomb explodes, those in charge of our safety will be in their bunker, local governments can claim that they followed their accounting rules, taxpayers will be stuck with a trillion-dollar bailout, and there will be blood.

Legal constraints on changes in (US) State and Local pensions - Alicia H. Munnell & Laura Quinby, Centre for Retirement Research, Boston College, 07/08/2012
Many states face legal constraints on their ability to change future accruals for existing employees.

Live long and prosper - Lombard (Norma Cohen), Financial Times (scroll down), 03/08/2012
Mr Ralfe is not pouring cold water on auto-enrolment, which he thinks a good idea. But today’s workers must work longer and retire later, and there is little point in trying to fudge this hard truth.

Flawed pension proposal focuses on the wrong risk - Bob Merton & Jan Snippe, Financial Times Letters, 17/07/2012
A retirement scheme should enable its members to realise the inflation-protected incomes needed to maintain an adequate standard of living in retirement.

Fiscal sustainability report 2012: launch presentation - Robert Choate, OBR Website, 12/07/2012
Launch of the OBR's second Fiscal sustainability report, the annual publication looking at the health of the public sector balance sheet and the long©\term sustainability of the public finances.
See OBR website for full report


Fiscal sustainability report 2012: launch presentation Slides - OBR, OBR Website, 12/07/2012

The Distributional Effects of Asset Purchases - Bank Of England, Bank of England website, 12/07/2012
Discussion of QE

Pensions regulation lacks clarity, says NAO - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 11/07/2012
The system for regulating pension savings lacks coherence and clarity, with no way to ensure the taxpayer is getting value for money, according to an NAO report.

Pensions no longer need large equity holdings - John Ralfe, FTfm, 02/07/2012
The real reason for the death of the cult of the equity is more fundamental than just equity underperformance (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)


Shaming the banks into better ways - Editorial, Financial Times, 29/06/2012
If he (Bob Diamond) had an ounce of shame, he would immediately step down.

Congress set to grant pension windfall - Michael Mackenzie & James Politi , Financial Times, 28/06/2012
Under the provision, companies would be allowed to use an average rate based on the past 25 years, rather than one based on the past two.

Loss-making NHS trust enters administration - Kiran Stacey, Financial Times, 26/06/2012
The trust has previously signed two private finance deals, which the health secretary’s aides say have left it burdened with £61m a year in debt repayments.

BT dealt fresh pension deficit blow - Norma Cohen & Daniel Thomas, Financial Times, 25/06/2012
BT has been rebuffed for the third time, this time by the Competition Commission, in its efforts to compel its competitors to share in the costs of pension deficit contributions

Pensions row set to dominate at BMA doctors' conference - Nick Trigge, BBC News, 25/06/2012
Doctors are set to discuss what to do next in their dispute over pensions as they gather for their four-day annual conference.

UK Coal misses restructure deadline - Andrew Bounds, Financial Times, 22/06/2012
One pension trustee said UK Coal was seeking to offload the historic liabilities, about half the total, to the PPF

Doctors are being asked to take relatively mild medicine - Charles Cowling, Financial Times Letters, 21/06/2012
Doctors don’t understand how lucky they are
See FT website (paywall)


BMA: 'Inherent unfairness' in doctor pensions - John Humprys interview, BBC Radio 4 Today Programme interview, 21/06/2012
John Ralfe says doctors are not getting a raw deal. He told the Today programme that hospital consultants will be worse off under the new pension scheme, but only because the "current pension is so very generous".

Insurance products too complex, says Aegon - Alistair Gray, Financial Times, 19/06/2012
The head of one of the world’s biggest life assurers has admitted his industry suffers from a credibility problem because it has sold over-complex products to savers.

Cost of tackling pensions crisis will only be more painful if we keep ignoring it - James Moore, The Independent, 13/06/2012
We've become so used to hearing about a pensions timebomb that it's really very easy to respond with a shrug of the shoulders.

Pension tensions - Leader, Financial Times, 13/06/2012
One way to bear down on charges and protect savers would be for the government to open NEST to all savers.

OECD backs compulsion for pensions policy - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 12/06/2012
Forcing people to pay into private pension systems while they are working may be the only way for governments to ensure that their citizens have an adequate income in retirement,according to the OECD

OECD Pension Outlook 2012 Briefing - OECD, OECD website, 11/06/2012
Recent pension reforms will lead to lower public pensions for future generations of retirees, around 20-25% on average. This first edition of the Pensions Outlook argues that countries should focus on two main policies to address the growing pensions gap: later retirement and extending the coverage of private pensions.

GM cuts $26bn from pension liability - Dan McCrum & Ajay Makan , Financial Times, 02/06/2012
GM will cut $26bn from its $134bn pension liability by offering lump sum payments to employees and shifting pension plans over to Prudential Financial.

Flying under the radar - Lombard (Norma Cohen), Financial Times (scroll down page), 01/06/2012
How can a profitable company sell a business to another profitable company and still manage to dump an underfunded pension scheme into the PPF?

Will This Greek Tragedy Climax in the Death of the Euro? - Douglas J. Elliott, The Brookings Institution, 31/05/2012
Greece could well be out of the euro soon, depending on the results of the election scheduled there for June 17.
See Brookings website


Section 89 Report on British Midlands Ariways Ltd - The Pensions Regulator, Website, 31/05/2012
Issued by The Pensions Regulator in relation to the British Midland Airways Limited Pension and Life Assurance Scheme.
See TPR website


The Real Cost of Public Pensions - Jason Richwine, The Heritage Foundation, 31/05/2012
This paper discusses how to properly calculate the cost of public defined-benefit pension benefits, compares the cost of these benefits to private-sector retirement plans, and refutes two of the most common arguments that public pension benefits are somehow modest.

US public pension funds take on more risk - Dan McCrum, Financial Times, 29/05/2012
US public pension funds have used loose regulation to camouflage their liabilities and take on risks as they have matured, according to a new study by academics from Yale and Maastricht universities.

UK pensions still ignore equity risk - Pauline Skypala, FTfm, 28/05/2012
Asked what progress has been made since 2005 in the design of DC savings vehicles, Mr Ralfe says not much.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Is the Pensions Commission Report flawed?" January 2005
See FTfm article "Ralfe challenges Turner report" by Pauline Skypala January 2005


Why have some people stopped saving for their pensions? - John Ralfe, Radio 5 live Wake Up To Money, 21/05/2012
A report by Scottish Widows suggests the number of people who are not saving anything for their retirement is growing. Pensions expert John Ralfe says the picture could be even worse

A Dane who likes to be different and share risk - Pauline Skypala, FTfm, 21/05/2012
So do the Danes believe they have a superior approach to retirement saving? Lars Rohde, chief executive of ATP, says no, it is just different.

Anglicans embrace Mammon to beat pension crisis - Oliver Shah, Sunday Times, 20/05/2012
The church needs cash after a poor run of investments left a big deficit in the funds for retired clergy (PDF NO photos)
See JER FTfm article "The Church's reckless investment gamble" February 2010


“Hospital doctors need to do their sums before revolting over pension changes - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 18/05/2012
Sir, Christoph Lees’ letter on your report that the BMA is balloting for industrial action on pensions, suggests a misunderstanding of the impact on long-serving hospital doctors of the increase in retirement age from 60 to 67. (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)
See Channnel 4 FactCheck January 2012


"Doctors’ grievance over pensions is all about fairness" - Dr Christoph Lees , Financial Times Letters, 15/05/2012
The doctors’ pension grievance isn’t simply about contributions, which inexplicably are projected to be almost double those of senior civil servants

Doctors to vote on pensions action - Brian Groom, Financial Times, 14/05/2012
More than 100,000 National Health Service doctors begin voting on Monday on taking industrial action for the first time since 1975, over changes to pensions.
See Channnel 4 FactCheck January 2012


Dimon is a whale of a hedge fund manager - John Gapper, Financial Times, 12/05/2012
Amid turmoil in the eurozone, it has been some time since we heard an American voice apologising for a financial disaster. It has been even longer since that voice belonged to Jamie Dimon.

The Funding of State and Local Pensions: 2011-2015 - By Alicia H. Munnell, Jean-Pierre Aubry, Josh Hurwitz, Madeline Medenica, and Laura Quinby, Centre for Retirement Research, Boston College, 08/05/2012
This brief provides an update on the funded status of state and local plans in 2011 and also reports projections for the period 2012-2015.

Stuck in the middle - Buttonwood, The Economist, 04/05/2012
How low real interest rates hurt pension funds

Guest Viewpoint: Jeroen Wilbrink & Jelle Beenen - Jeroen Wilbrink & Jelle Beenen, IPE website, 01/05/2012
Kees Cools and Anton van Nunen claimed that the current calculation used in assessing the health of a pension scheme is incorrect.

Lufthansa pushes British pensioners out of the plane - Karl West, Sunday Times, 29/04/2012
The German airline is sitting on £22 billion in assets. How could it walk away from BMI’s £180m deficit?

Valuable advice on investment advisers - Tim Harford (The Undercover economist), Financial Times Magazine, 28/04/2012
Be careful whose interests the expert is serving...

Pension schemes cannot ignore QE impact - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 27/04/2012
The pensions regulator will announce on Friday that companies will not be able to ignore the potentially damaging impact of quantitative easing when calculating their pension liabilities. However, in a concession, it will give struggling companies more time to make good on scheme shortfalls.

Reality check - Lombard (Alison Smith), Financial Times (scroll down page), 27/04/2012
Talk about unlucky. Defined benefit pension schemes going through their three-yearly valuation are finding all-time low gilt yields make their liabilities look particularly (and unpleasantly) large.

Pensions regulator extends shortfall deadline - Phillip Inman, Guardian, 27/04/2012
Around 300 firms will be given more time to replenish the shortfalls caused by low interest rates and volatile stock markets

UK’s older staff face work into late 70s - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 25/04/2012
Nearly half of those over 50 and still in employment may have to keep working well into their late 70s to claim their target income in retirement, a report concludes on Wednesday.

BMI pensioners face cuts to benefits - Norma Cohen & Andrew Parker, Financial Times, 19/04/2012
Members of BMI British Midland’s pension scheme are braced for cuts to their benefits after Lufthansa, current owner of the lossmaking British airline, announced plans to transfer the fund to the UK’s retirement insurer.

Roadmap for Retirement Reform 2012 - Malcolm Small, IoD Policy Paper, 18/04/2012
"Tough decisions ahead"

Dutch system attracts UK interest despite cuts - Brendan Maton, FTfm, 16/04/2012
The risk-sharing approach is not perfect, but is more sustainable than the UK’s.

A solution may be found in DC innovation in the US - Lord Hutton , FTfm, 16/04/2012
Lord Hutton thinks US Managed DC would be better than collective DC plans.

Cash balance plans gain popularity in US - John Keefe, FTfm, 16/04/2012
With elements of both DC & DB, these schemes are taking off.

CDC could lead to Ponzi schemes - John Ralfe, FTfm, 16/04/2012
A collective pension can transfer investment risk from one member to another or from one generation to another, but it cannot make it disappear. (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)


Pensions dressed in Emperor’s new clothes - Matthew Vincent, Financial Times, 12/04/2012
Steve Webb in an interview, coined a seemingly new phrase for a new type of pension: “defined ambition”.

California warned on pension funding hole - Dan McCrum, Financial Times, 11/04/2012
California must increase contributions to teachers’ pensions by more than half to close a $64.5bn funding hole in the country’s second largest public retirement system, according to the actuarial valuation to be presented to the board of Calstrs this week.

US union pensions hole deepens to $369bn - Dan McCrum & Ajay Makan, Financial Times, 09/04/2012
The hole in the pension plans of US labour unions now stands at $369bn Credit Suisse has calculated.

With-profits unlikely to revive - Pauline Skypala, FTfm, 09/04/2012
Mr Webb’s defined ambition schemes will have to be different in design and practice if they are to fly.

A new future for workplace pensions? - Steve Webb, Daily Telegraph, 09/04/2012
Suggestion by the Pensions Minister on "defined ambition" pensions.
See JER FTfm article "CDC could lead to Ponzi schemes" April 2012


Time to remove barriers facing Nest eggs - Lombard (Alison Smith), Financial Times, 03/04/2012
As a response to “market failure” by the life sector, auto-enrolment is never going to be a comfortable subject for the industry.

Wm Morrison bids to bolster staff saving - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 31/03/2012
Wm Morrison is set to offer its workers a novel pension savings scheme to help them avoid the risk of fluctuating financial markets.

My generation should repay its good luck - John Kay, Financial Times, 28/03/2012
I belong to a lucky generation: too young to have experienced the Depression, or the second world war, or postwar austerity.

Nest risks being strangled at birth - Pauline Skypala, Financial Times, 26/03/2012
If there was anyone left in the UK who thought they could rely on the state pension to live on in retirement, last week’s Budget should have disabused them.

Newspaper puts creditors before pensions - John Ralfe, Financial Times FTfm, 26/03/2012
Trinity Mirror is trying to drive a coach-and-horses through a fundamental regulatory principle (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)


BT pays £2bn to cut pension deficit - Norma Cohen & Adam Jones, Financial Times, 23/03/2012
BT is to make an extra £2bn pension payment in the coming days, marking a more aggressive assault on a projected funding shortfall.

Do up-front tax incentives affect private pension saving in the UK? - Rowena Crawford, Richard Disney & Carl Emmerson, Institute of Fiscal Studies, 20/03/2012
The paper examines how individuals respond to complex decision-making environments – in particular, whether up-front financial incentives are an effective policy lever to change behaviour.

Financial repression fast becoming a reality - Tony Jackson, Financial Times, 19/03/2012
The concept of financial repression has been on the edge of investors’ minds for a while. It ought to move to the centre.

Royal Mail’s pension fund and the 2012-13 gilt funding remit - Mark Capleton, Bank of America Merril Lynch, 19/03/2012
Royal Mail pension scheme set to be moved to the state

Shares and shibboleths - The Economist, The Economist, 17/03/2012
How much should people get paid for investing in the stockmarket?

Trinity Mirror cuts pension payments - Norma Cohen, Salamander Davoudi & Louise Lucas, Financial Times, 16/03/2012
Trinity Mirror has struck a last-minute bargain with trustees of its pension scheme that allowed it to slash annual contributions.
See JER FTfm article "Newspaper puts creditors before pensions" March 2012


Trinity Mirror cuts pension contributions to pay US creditors - Phillip Inman & Mark Sweney , Guardian, 16/03/2012
Daily Mirror publisher expected to come under scrutiny after declaring £55m rise in scheme's funding deficit.
See JER FTfm article "Newspaper puts creditors before pensions" March 2012


Tesco considers raising retirement age - Norma Cohen & Andrea Felsted, Financial Times, 13/03/2012
Supermarket chain Tesco is opening a consultation to raise the pensionable age for members of its retirement scheme to 67.

Companies unready for pensions rule change - Norma Cohen & Alison Smith, Financial Times, 12/03/2012
One in three companies admit they are “not prepared at all” for the implementation of new rules requiring employers to help workers save for retirement, according to a survey.

Who will notice pension tax-break cut? - Pauline Skypala, FTfm, 12/03/2012
Would anyone put money into a pension scheme if they were not compelled to or encouraged to via tax incentives?

Pension tax breaks on Osborne’s radar - George Parker, Kiran Stacey & Josephine Cumbo, Financial Times, 09/03/2012
George Osborne is looking to raise taxes on the pension contributions of the highest earners in this month’s Budget.

“Money-raising plan looks like PFI all over again” - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 08/03/2012
You report that the Treasury plans to raise £20bn from UK pension schemes to invest in infrastructure projects. Although the full details are still sketchy, this looks suspiciously like the discredited private finance initiative. (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)


Transfer requests - Paul Farrow, Money Marketing, 08/03/2012
Are ETVs heading the industry towards another scandal?

Book-cooking guide - The Economist, The Economist, 07/03/2012
The public sector has too much freedom to dress up the accounts

Insolvency required to follow Uniq - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 03/03/2012
Companies seeking to escape some or all of their pension obligations will only be allowed to do so when it can be demonstrated beyond doubt that the only alternative is insolvency, Britain’s Pensions Regulator said.

Taking a flyer - Lombard (Jonathan Guthrie), Financial Times (scroll down page), 01/03/2012
IAG has exploited wiggle room within the IAS19 accounting standard to come up with a positive figure by leaving a big chunk of liabilities unrecognised

Are police pensions unaffordable? - Patrick Worrall & Cathy Newman, Channel 4 News FactCheck, 01/03/2012
The right-of-centre think-tank Policy Exchange weighed in to the ongoing row over public sector pensions this week. This time it was the police pension scheme that came under scrutiny.

Buffett is right – stocks will trump bonds - Steven Rattner, Financial Times A-List blog, 29/02/2012
See response from Zvi Bodie & John Ralfe "Ford is right to match its pensions assets & liabilities"

Ford is right to match its pensions assets and liabilities - Zvi Bodie & John Ralfe, Financial Times A-list blog, 29/02/2012
Steven Rattner takes Ford Motors to task for its plan to move 80 per cent of its pension fund into bonds

Low borrowing costs help pay for pensions - Nicole Bullock & Dan McCrum in New York, Financial Times, 24/02/2012
US companies are taking advantage of low borrowing costs to sell debt to help pay their pension contributions.

Ford beefs up pension funds and steers to bonds - Dan McCrum, Financial Times, 22/02/2012
Ford has more than doubled its annual pension contribution, as it shifts towards bonds to limit exposure to volatile stock markets.
See FT A-list blog by Zvi Bodie and JER "Ford is right to match its pensions assets and liabilities" February 2012


The Economy of Obligation: Indeterminate Contracts and the Cost of the Welfare State - Prof Avner Offer, Unpublished paper, 18/02/2012
Western governments typically pay out some 30 percent of GDP for social purposes. This is financed by taxation on a pay-as-you-go basis. How efficient are these transfers, and can market or other mechanisms do it better?

Govt’s pension tax could hit public sector workers - Kiran Stacey, Financial Times Westminster blog, 15/02/2012
I wrote about the possibility of lowering the cap for how much workers can put into their pension pots & still get tax relief.

Church of England doubles hedge fund investments - Sam Jones, Financial Times, 03/02/2012
About 10 per cent of the Church capital is invested with hedge fund managers, up from 4 per cent at the end of 2009.
See JER FTfm article "The Church’s reckless investment gamble" February 2010


Pension schemes would need £470bn for full pay-out - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 01/02/2012
Latest "Purple Book" from the Pensions Regulator

(IFS) Report sceptical over pension savings - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 01/02/2012
Government proposals on pensions for public sector workers are unlikely to save much money over the long term.
The IFS repeats JER;s analysis from January. See Robert Peston's blog


The Kay Review Interim Report - John Kay, BIS website, 01/02/2012
The Kay Review of UK Equity Markets and Long Term Decision Making Interim Report

Maude got his pension sums wrong, says IFS - Phillip Inman, Guardian blog, 31/01/2012
The paymaster-general went to war with the unions to defend reforms that will generate little or no gain for the exchequer.
The IFS repeats JER;s analysis from January. See Robert Peston's blog


Who really stands to lose out under NHS pension changes? - Patrick Worrall & Cathy Newman, Channel 4 News Factcheck, 24/01/2012
Includes clip with JER
See JER FT letter “Hospital doctors need to do their sums before revolting over pension changes" May 2012


Not so smart - The Economist, The Economist, 21/01/2012
It is easy to accept that small investors might be irrational—piling into dotcom stocks in late 1999, for example, or buying half-built Miami condominiums in 2006.

Doctors reject pension reform - Brian Groom & Sarah Neville, Financial Times, 20/01/2012
Two/thirds of Doctors said they would be prepared to take industrial action, complicating ministers’ efforts to reach a deal over reform.
See JER FT letter “Hospital doctors need to do their sums before revolting over pension changes" May 2012


MPs’ pension plan faces $1 billion shortfall, report finds - Kenyon Wallace, Toronto Star, 19/01/2012
Discussion of Canadian MPs’ pensions

Risk-sharing plan for pensions - Josephine Cumbo, Financial Times, 14/01/2012
“Cash balance” plans are one of the “risk sharing” solutions that the government is considering.

You don't know what you got until you lose it - Buttonwood, The Economist, 11/01/2012
John Ralfe made a good point in Monday's FT about the closure of Shell's final salary pension scheme to new members.

Pension schemes can no longer muddle through - W. Paul McCrossan, Financial Times Letters, 10/01/2012
The problems experienced in corporate pension scheme funding result directly from decisions by trustees to mismatch assets and liabilities by investing heavily in equities

Judge lets bankrupt US town slash pensions - Nicole Bullock, Financial Times, 10/01/2012
A federal bankruptcy court has approved an agreement that will allow Central Falls, a bankrupt city in Rhode Island, to slash police and fire pensions while paying its bondholders in full.

Thoughts on the end (or not) of the DB era - John Ralfe, FTfm PDF, 09/01/2012
"If DB pensions didn’t exist, would we invent them?" (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)


Has the Government given up on pensions? - Jim Moore, Independent, 06/01/2012
John Ralfe tweaked the Government’s nose on the effect of its planned reforms to public sector pensions.

Shell closes last FTSE 100 final salary pension scheme - Jamie Dunkley, Daily Telegraph, 06/01/2012
Royal Dutch Shell signalled the end of an era for the UK pensions industry by announcing plans to close its final-salary scheme to new members, making it the last FTSE 100 company to do so.
See JER FTfm article "Thoughts on the end (or not) of the DB era" January 2012


'Striking' revelations on pension reform - Justin Webb interviews Robert Peston, BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, 05/01/2012
Independent research by John Ralfe suggests the increase in retirement age from 60 to 67 for public sector workers might not save much because the benefits eventually available are more valuable than they are now.
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Pensions Funds: The sinkhole - The Economist, The Economist, 05/01/2012
In the US, for 2011 Mercer calculates that corporate sector deficits widened for the second straight year.

Pension age increase sees ’no saving’ - BBC News, BBC website, 05/01/2012
The government will make no savings by raising the public sector pension age to 67, a pensions consultant has said.

Robert Peston's peculiar pensions story - Nigel Stanley, Touchstone blog (TUC), 05/01/2012
It may be a quiet news day today, but that does not explain Robert Peston’s curious report, first on the Today programme and now on his blog, on public sector pensions. This claims – based on the work of John Ralfe:

Today's bad science on pensions - Jon Rogers, Jon Rogers blog (Unison), 05/01/2012
It is difficult to get to grips with the report on the Today Programme that increases in the pension age in the three "pay as you go" public service pension schemes will not produce long term savings since the BBC don't go far into the detail of the assumptions on which this claim is based. This is not helped by the fact that Mr Ralfe's website provides no further details (at least not yet).

Civil service pensions ’still gold plated’ - Robert Peston, Peston Blog, 04/01/2012
Analysis by John Ralfe shows the improvements in the benefits given to public sector workers at the higher retirement age offset the reduction in costs the higher retirement age

Threat of more pension strikes recedes - Brian Groom, Financial Times, 21/12/2011
It looks like the beginning of the end of the dispute over public sector pensions.
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Whole of Government Accounts 2010 - HMT, HMT website, 29/11/2011
Consolidated accounts showing the whole public sector, including pensions

Hooked on the final salary pension - Jo Faragher, Financial Times, 18/11/2011
There was a time when the final salary pension was as familiar a part of retirement as the carriage clock.

Kesa offloads Comet to investment firm for £2 - Claer Barrett, Financial Times, 09/11/2011
However, Kesa will retain responsibility for Comet’s pension liabilities.

Boots’ bonds architect on the merits of switching - Pauline Skypala, FTfm, 07/11/2011
Ten years ago, the news broke that the £2.3bn ($3.7bn) Boots pension scheme had switched all of its assets into bonds. (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)
See FT article "The drugstore maverick" by Tony Tassell March 2003


Ministers urge Unison to rethink strike - Brian Groom, Elizabeth Rigby and Jim Pickard, Financial Times, 04/11/2011
Ministers and employers pleaded with Britain’s largest public sector union to “think again” after a vote for strikes over pension changes.

The revised offer on public sector pensions in a nutshell - Jim Pickard, Financial Times Westminster blog, 02/11/2011

Section 89 Report on Polestar Pensions - The Pension Regulator, TPR website, 31/10/2011
Explanation by TPR of the Polestar Pensions debacle
See JER's FTfm article "Regulating the Pensions Regulator" May 2011


Pension Protection Fund faces Polestar test - Simon Mundy, Financial Times, 29/10/2011
The Pension Protection Fund will be saddled with one of its biggest liabilities in its seven-year history, as the scheme at Polestar, the printing company, seeks to wind itself up.
See JER's FTfm article "Regulating the Pensions Regulator" May 2011


Pensions regulator to raise risk barrier - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 21/10/2011
Struggling companies with underfunded pension schemes are likely to be barred from higher-yielding but riskier investments.

Boots pursues pension changes despite regulator’s misgivings - Richard Northedge, Independent on Sunday, 16/10/2011
Company’s offer to workers risks mis-selling claims

A trillion here, $500 billion there - Buttonwood, The Economist, 15/10/2011
The huge shortfalls in pension plans

Judgement on Nortel & Lehman pension case - Appeal Court, Website, 14/10/2011
The High Court upholds the ruling that contribution notices issued by TPR after a company is insolvent have "super priority"

Long Run SE Voet: De-bunking the Mantra of the Equity Cult - RJ Thomson, South African Actuarial Journal, 01/10/2011
"In the long run we are all dead" - John Maynard Keynes

Call to reverse pensions reforms - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 08/09/2011
Recent reforms of pensions accounting should be largely reversed because the current rules are discouraging companies from offering good pensions, according to a study to be released on Wednesday.
See FT article with the NAPF advocating tougher accounting November 2004. and NAPF policy paper
Why has the NAPF changed its tune?


Reality check - Lombard (Alison Smith), Financial Times (scroll down page), 08/09/2011
So now we know. Accounting standards are to blame for the loss of so many good workplace pensions.

Pensions set to sink Comet sale - Claer Barrett & Anousha Sakoui, Financial Times, 07/09/2011
The sale of Comet, the lossmaking electrical retailer, is increasingly unlikely to proceed after offers by the two remaining parties indicated a cash dowry of £150m-£200m would be required to compensate for pension liabilities and working capital concerns.

Retailers watch M&S’s plans for auto enrolment - Debbie Harrison, Financial Times, 05/09/2011
Marks and Spencer, one of the UK’s biggest retailers, has selected a defined contribution (DC) master trust run by Legal & General as its new pension scheme for auto-enrolment in 2012.

Royal Mail pension exposure questioned - Pauline Skypala & Sara Silver, FTfm, 29/08/2011
The equity exposure of the £27.7bn ($45.3bn) Royal Mail Pension Plan is significantly higher than it appears from the group’s report and accounts.

Banks shift assets to cut pension deficits - Patrick Jenkins, Financial Times, 22/08/2011
Some of Britain’s biggest banks have begun quietly ridding themselves of billions of pounds of assets they have found difficult to sell, moving them into staff pension funds.

Accounting change to show extra public debt - Adam Jones & Chris Giles, Financial Times, 11/07/2011
Hundreds of billions of pounds of additional debt will appear on the government’s books on Wednesday when the Treasury publishes accounts drawn up on the same basis as those of companies.

Court freezes early access pension plans - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 07/07/2011
The independent trustee to a group of pension schemes that promise people early access to their retirement savings has won a freezing injunction against the promoters of the schemes.

Bridging the Growing Pensions Gap - John Ralfe, Index Universe website, 06/07/2011
Some investment experts have argued that a collective defined contribution (CDC) pension can bridge the gap between the old and the new schemes

Are public sector pensions unfair? - Mary Bousted & John Ralfe, BBC Radio 4 Today Programme interview, 02/07/2011
Dr Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers & John Ralfe, discuss public sector pensions.

Has NUT union misled members over pension reforms? - Jim Pickard, Financial Times Westminster blog, 30/06/2011
John Ralfe, an independent pensions expert, is convinced that the National Union of Teachers has misled members in a fact sheet it gave them ahead of today’s strike.

Setting an example to sullen Whitehall - Sue Cameron, Financial Times, 29/06/2011
Whitehall is said to be in “sullen” mood on the eve of strikes over coalition plans to scale back public sector pensions.

Hutton calls for rethink on pension changes - Nick Timmins, Financial Times, 24/06/2011
The coalition must think again about plans to impose a 3 percentage point increase in pension contributions.
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Honest truth about contributions - Pauline Skypala, FTfm, 20/06/2011
I had a discussion over lunch with a pensions specialist about the importance of the level of charges in pension outcomes.

Focus DIY chain collapse sparks fury over role of private equity - Zoe Wood & Ian Griffiths, Guardian, 29/05/2011
Buyout specialists attacked over deals that reaped them £1bn and left retailer struggling.

Regulating the Pensions Regulator (Polestar) - John Ralfe, Financial Times FTfm, 23/05/2011
“The Regulator can become transparent and accountable only if the law is changed” (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)
See Telegraph article "Polestar pension deal clears decks for owners" December 2006


‘Halfway house’ pensions to share risk - Josephine Cumbo, Financial Times, 21/05/2011
A new type of workplace pension scheme could see even more UK workers shifted into “risk-sharing” arrangements.
See JER FTfm article "CDC could lead to Ponzi schemes" April 2012


Potential Federal Roles in Dealing with State and Local Pension Problems - Douglas J. Elliott, The Brookings Institution, 12/05/2011
The aggregate state pension deficit ranges from $0.7trn to $2.5trn or more, depending on how one calculates the value in today’s dollars of future pension payments.

Golden lessons - Sue Cameron, Financial Times (Scroll down), 11/05/2011
Fat cattery is increasing, especially in public sector pensions.

Hearing on the Transparency and Funding of State and Local Pensions - Jeremy Gold, US House of Representatives website, 05/05/2011
Statement before the US House of Representatives

Is the Treasury understating pension liabilities? - Robert Peston, Robert Peston blog, 03/05/2011
Belatedly, I've got round to looking at the Treasury's recent decision to change how it calculates the necessary contributions that have to be made to cover the future costs of unfunded public service pensions.
See Letter to George Osborne from JER & 22 other pension experts


Bean counters ignored over discount rates - Pauline Skypala, FTfm, 02/05/2011
Here is an advance warning: this column is about discount rates, specifically the appropriate discount rate for UK unfunded public sector pension schemes.
See Letter sent to George Osborne from JER & 22 other pension experts


PPF Levy - A New Framework - PPF, PPF website, 01/05/2011
How the PPF will incorporate investment risk into its levy

Teachers' pensions 'a real betrayal' - Russell Hobby & John Ralfe, BBC Radio 4 Today Programme interview, 30/04/2011
John Ralfe & Russell Hobby, of the National Association of Head Teachers, debate if current public sector pensions are sustainable.

What killed final salary pension schemes? - Paul Lewis, BBC Radio 4 Money Box Special, 30/04/2011
Final salary pension schemes are dead. That’s the general consensus of a dozen people we’ve spoken to in the last couple of weeks, and today we’re exploring that idea in a special Money Box for this Bank Holiday weekend. (PDF transcript)
Listen to programme on BBC iPlayer


Rethink urged on future pension bill - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 27/04/2011
The cost of public sector pension promises is to be calculated using a method that significantly understates the cost, according to a group of pendion experts
See Letter sent to George Osborne from JER & 22 other pension experts


Letter sent to UK Chancellor George Osborne - John Ralfe and 22 others, Letter, 26/04/2011
Letter to George Osborne asking him to re-consider his decision on the discount rate for public sector pensions

Letter to Polestar Pension Scheme members - Chairman of the Scheme, Letter, 18/04/2011
Explanation of the position of the Polestar Pension Scheme.
See JER's FTfm article "Regulating the Pensions Regulator" May 2011


Pick a number, any number - Philip Coggan, The Economist, 08/04/2011
How should a pensions promise be valued?

Economist Special Report on pensions - Philip Coggan, Economist, 08/04/2011

Universal benefits and free national wealth service... is it 1948 again? - Matthew Vincent, Financial Times, 08/04/2011
There two policies launched this week that could bring about as much social change as the reforms of the late 1940s.

A state pension for the 21st century - DWP, DWP website, 02/04/2011
Green Paper

Risks in public sector pensions - David Blake, Financial Times Letters, 21/03/2011
Public sector pensions are equivalent to index-linked longevity bonds.

Unaffected by rule changes - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters , 16/03/2011
Sir, Dan DeKeizer argues that the government should issue gilts linked to the cpi, not just the rpi, in light of recent regulatory changes linking some pension increases to CPI.

The correct public sector pension discount rate - John Ralfe, FTfm, 14/03/2011
Public sector pensions are not discretionary government spending, like health or education, but deferred pay earned under a legally binding contract of employment, equivalent to giving ILGs to be redeemed at retirement. (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)
See Letter sent to George Osborne from JER & 22 other pension experts


Public sector pensions must be reformed - Lord Hutton, Financial Times, 11/03/2011
Following my independent commission’s nine-month review of public service pensions in Britain, one thing is clear – current public service pension provision is clearly not sustainable or affordable in the long-term.
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Time to get real about pensions - Ruth Sunderland, Daily Mail, 11/03/2011
Encouraging people to work for longer is good for individuals and for the economy. Besides, in the public or the private sector, there is no alternative.

Lord Hutton's Final Report Press Release - HMT, HMT website, 10/03/2011
Lord Hutton of Furness today sets out his proposals for comprehensive, long-term structural reform of public service pension schemes.

Public-sector pensions lose platinum coat - Robert Peston, Peston blog, 10/03/2011
Public-sector workers would be left with a pension scheme worth around 15% of typical salaries. Which would still make many in the private sector feel just a bit envious.

Final Hutton Report - Lord Hutton, Website, 10/03/2011
Final Report on reforming public sector pensions
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Can (US) State and Local Pensions muddle through? - Alicia Munnell et al, CRR, Boston College, 01/03/2011
Analysis of US State and Local pensions

Lessons from the index-linked bonds battle - John Plender, FTfm, 14/02/2011
This month the latest outbreak of investment-related shooting has been on the subject of index-linked bonds.

Public sector pension benefits face one-third cut - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 14/02/2011
Some 5m current and former public sector workers could see their retirement benefits cut by one-third following changes to the way pensions take account of inflation, an official assessment shows.

RPI to CPI costs pension savers £83bn - Robert Peston, Robert Peston blog, 12/02/2011
DWP impact assessment of the costs for members of DB pension schemes of the decision that many schemes should up-rate their benefits in line with CPI, not RPI, inflation.

Inflation-linked bonds still best option for pension savers - Zvi Bodie, Charles Cowling, John Ralfe, Cliff Speed & Ian Sykes, FT Letters, 07/02/2011
Response to Jeremy Siegel that pension savers should hold equities. PDF
See FT website (paywall)


Discounting State and Local Pension Liabilities - Jeffrey R. Brown and David W. Wilcox, American Economic Review, 02/02/2011
We then briefly sketch the normative theory of how pension obligations should be discounted.

The Economics of State and Local Pensions - Jeffrey Brown et al, NBER Working Paper 16792, 01/02/2011
Analyses the financial aspects of US state and local pensions

In debt to Grandpa - Buttonwood, The Economist, 29/01/2011
The close ties between governments and pension funds

Current pension policies are misguided - Robert C. Merton & Jan Snippe, FTfm, 24/01/2011
Restrictions on asset allocation may cause low-risk allocations to be disqualified

Robbing Peter to pay Paul’s pension - John Ralfe, FTfm, 24/01/2011
If USS operates as "cash-in, cash-out" it is a massive pyramid selling scheme, relying on contributions for new pension promises to pay current pensions (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)

See John Plender's FT article on USS May 2006


USS to adopt CPI inflation measure - Steve Johnson, Financial Times, 24/01/2011
The Universities Superannuation Scheme, the UK’s second largest private sector scheme, is to follow the lead of the BT plan, the UK’s largest, in adopting a lower measure of inflation.

Independent Commission on Equitable Life Payments - Brian Pomeroy (Chair), HMT website, 21/01/2011
Equitable Life Payments Scheme: achieving a fair allocation and order of payments Advice to the Government 21 January 2011 Independent Commission on Equitable Life Payments

Forecasting the public finances - Office for Budget Reponsibility, OBR Website, 15/01/2011
Methodology of the OBR

Improving Sweden’s automatic pension adjustment mechanism - Nicholas Barr & Peter Diamond, Centre for Retirement Research, Boston College, 02/01/2011
Sweden’s notional DC arrangements need some modification

Local government pension schemes urged to take Yale route - Pauline Skypala, FTfm, 20/12/2010
John Ralfe set the cat among the pigeons by working out the deficit on England’s Local Government Pension Scheme on an FRS17 basis.
See Robert Peston blog December 2010


Eric Bloodaxe - Sue Cameron, Financial Times (Scroll down), 15/12/2010
My local council, Westminster, has nine people with pension pots of about £1m or more. Imagine how many there must be nationwide.

Local government pension deficit - BBC, BBC News, 15/12/2010
The deficit in the Local Government Pension Scheme in England has more than doubled in the past three years to £100bn.

£100bn hole in local government pensions - Robert Peston, Robert Peston blog, 15/12/2010
Mr Ralfe says that the LGPS will show a much smaller official actuarial deficit, because it will not be using the FRS17 valuation method imposed on the private sector.

Guidance on Transfer Incentives Consultation Report - The Pensions Regulator, TPR website, 15/12/2010
Discussion of transfers from pension schemes

PM to be Godless in Downing Street - Sue Cameron, Financial Times, 15/12/2010
Looks like David Cameron has lost his battle to keep GOD by his side for another couple of years.

Public sector 'in denial' of pension trouble - Bob Summers & John Ralfe, BBC Radio 4 Today Programme interview, 15/12/2010
Research by John Ralfe suggests the deficit in the Local Government Pension Scheme in England has more than doubled in the last three years. He debates with Bob Summers, of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance.
See Robert Peston blog December 2010


GMB Rebuts Pensions Deficit - GMB, GMB Website, 15/12/2010
THERE IS NOT A £100BN DEFICIT IN THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT PENSION SCHEME AND THERE IS NO CRISIS, SAID GMB IN RESPONSE TO CLAIMS BY A FINANCIAL CONSULTANT TODAY.

£100bn local government pension deficit claim is flawed and misleading - Unite Union, Unite Union Website, 15/12/2010
Claims that the deficit in the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) in England has leaped to £100bn is ‘mathematically flawed and intellectually misleading’, Unite says

NAPF Comment on the deficit of the Local Government Pension Scheme - NAPF, NAPF Press Release, 15/12/2010
Commenting on the reported £100bn deficit of the Local Government Pension Scheme outlined by John Ralfe’s survey of Local Authorities’ accounts, Joanne Segars, Chief Executive of the NAPF, said:

BA in talks to cut pension shortfall - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 13/12/2010
BA is discussing changes to its pension scheme rules that would slash its pension shortfall, currently £1.9bn), almost in half.

Public pensions need further scrutiny - Tony Jackson, Financial Times, 13/12/2010
Defined benefit pensions in the private sector are an endangered species. Not so in the public sector.

Landmark pensions ruling to cause ripples - Jane Croft & Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 11/12/2010
Companies with large pension deficits may face higher borrowing costs after a High Court ruling that a claim by trustees of a scheme at a related company can rank ahead of other creditors for a company in administration.

Goldman unit wins Paternoster auction - Paul J Davies, Financial Times, 11/12/2010
The business, which manages more than £2.5bn of pension liabilities for roughly 100,000 pensioners, was put up for sale by its original backers

How Boots' Swiss move cost UK £100m a year - Felicity Lawrence, Guardian, 11/12/2010
IInterest payments on the Alliance Boots debt in 2008 were so large they wiped out profit in the UK – and the tax that used to go with it.

Watchdog plans clamp on pension bets - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 07/12/2010
Pension funds will be prevented from investing in risky assets, including stocks, by the Pensions Regulator to stop weaker companies with large pension shortfalls from making huge bets.

Pension measure leads to nonsensical conclusions - John Ralfe, Financial Times letters, 26/11/2010
Reforming public sector pensions requires a robust and common understanding of costs to allowed informed debate and necassary hard decisions to be taken.PDF) See FT website (paywall)

BT warns of challenge to Ofcom fees ruling - Andrew Parker, Financial Times, 17/11/2010
BT has warned it could sue Ofcom if it refused to let it raise the wholesale fees levied on rivals to repair its pension deficit.
See current case BT has taken to the Competition Commission


Index link switch puts pensions in limbo - Steve Johnson, FTfm, 15/11/2010
Opinion is sharply divided on the gains from using CPI.

BBC strike silences Today and hits TV news - Ben Fenton, Financial Times, 06/11/2010
BBC journalists striking over changes to their pensions were poised to bring disruption to television and radio schedules for a second day on Saturday.

BT’s pension double-huggy - Lombard (Andrew Hill), Financial Times (scroll down page), 05/11/2010
Deficit-encumbered BT seems to be the rare beneficiary of the opposite of a double-whammy – a double-huggy, if you will.

Nest set to hatch savings revolution - Pauline Skypala, Financial Times, 01/11/2010
The UK government gave the go-ahead for an unprecedented experiment in NEST.

US public pensions face day of reckoning - John Keefe, FTfm, 01/11/2010
Pension plan assets of the US public sector, excluding the federal government,were $2,557bn in June 2010, down from $3,198bn at 2007.

A Taxing Dilemma - Michael Robinson , BBC Radio 4 File on 4, 26/10/2010
"After last week’s focus on spending cuts, we look at the other side of the Government’s balance sheet - tax - and at how some of our biggest companies avoid paying it". (PDF Transcript)
Listen to programme on BBC iPlayer


BT buoyed by ruling on pension scheme - Andrew Parker, Norma Cohen & Jane Croft, Financial Times, 21/10/2010
Mr Justice Mann ruled in favour of BT, that the government insures 98 per cent of the pension scheme’s members against the company’s insolvency.

Risk-sharing on pensions will cost employees - Pauline Skypala, FTfm, 18/10/2010
The DWP concluded collective defined contribution was not worth pursuing.

Restricting pensions tax relief - Mark Hoban MP (Treasury Minister), Written Commons Statement, 14/10/2010
Statement on reducing Annual Allowance and Life Time Allowance

Technical Bulletin Restricting Pensions Tax Relief - Government Actuary's Department, GAD website, 14/10/2010
Discussion of changes to Annual Allowance and Life Time Allowance

PPF’s simpler levy plan gains industry backing - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 12/10/2010
The levy structure will be locked in for a three-year period, so long as a scheme’s risk profile does not change.

John Hutton refuses to give a green light to slash and burn - Michael White, Guardian blog, 08/10/2010
Trade unions that attacked pensions report did not do John Hutton justice: we are living longer and he recognises this

Lord Hutton's Interim Report - Lord Hutton, Website, 07/10/2010
Interim Report on public sector pension reforms
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Lord Hutton’s Interim Report Press Release - Lord Hutton, Website, 07/10/2010
Interim Report on public sector pension reforms

Premier Foods investors pile on pressure for asset sales - Richard Wachman, Guardian, 03/10/2010
Shareholders have opened fire on Premier Foods for failing to cut debts of £1.4bn and are calling for a shake-up at the company.

Making auto-enrolment work - Paul Johnson, David Yeandle and Adrian Boulting, DWP website, 01/10/2010
Independent Report commissioned by the DWP

Dutch not facing up to pension troubles - Robert Merton & Jan Snippe, FTfm, 29/09/2010
The Dutch central bank has recently indicated that 14 pension funds may have to cut benefits, and probably more will follow.

Royal Mail: A hedge fund that delivers letters - Robert Peston, Robert Peston blog, 23/09/2010
The Royal Mail Pension Fund accounts show it had £5bn of exposure to shares via futures, not disclosed in the RM accounts.

Royal Mail 'put £5bn of its pension fund at risk' - Phillip Inman, Financial Times, 23/09/2010
Analyst says secret off-balance sheet stock market bets could have led to massive losses

EMI finances threatened by pension dispute - BBC Website, BBC Website, 27/08/2010
The Pensions Regulator has been asked to decide on the funding of the EMI pension scheme because the trustees and the company cannot agree.

Risk planning for PPF is still difficult - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 26/08/2010
John Ralfe warned that stochastic modelling has proven wholly unreliable for long-term planning for pension schemes.

GM is just a hedge fund in disguise - Tony Jackson, Financial Times, 26/08/2010
Closer inspection of GM's gigantic pension fund suggests that in the long run, the business may be worth nothing at all.
See JER FTfm article "Pension pothole on GM’s road to recovery" July 2009


Long Term Funding Strategy - Pension Protection Fund, PPF website, 15/08/2010
Discussion of how the PPF intends to be fully funded

Catch-22 cuts - Sue Cameron, Financial Times (scroll down page), 11/08/2010
According to Mr Ralfe, the official cost of all public sector pensions is currently £15bn a year – as against the true cost of £30bn.

Paying the price - Buttonwood, The Economist, 31/07/2010
Time to reassess how fund managers are rewarded

Pensions accounting - Lex, Financial Times, 27/07/2010
As in the global warming debate, the problem of underfunded corporate pensions is matched in scale only by its ability to bore and confuse.

BT fails in bid to make rivals plug its £9bn pension deficit - Rupert Neate, Daily Telegraph, 24/07/2010
Ofcom has rejected BT's plan to increase prices it charges rivals to use its network to help drag its pension fund out of the red.

Statement on the impact of moving to CPI for pension increases - The Pensions Regulator, TPR website, 20/07/2010
Guidance on responding if pension liabilities are reduced by moving to CPI

UK pension deficits - Lex, Financial Times, 15/07/2010
The bigger question is whether a broad crown guarantee gives the BT trustees the breathing space to be reckless in funding a plan.

BT’s pension liability may hit £22.8bn - Jane Croft, Norma Cohen & Andrew Parker, Financial Times, 15/07/2010
Taxpayers could be on the hook for up to £22.8bn if BT were to become insolvent and its pension scheme terminated, according to High Court papers.

Public pensions - Editorial, Financial Times, 12/07/2010
The widely held view that public sector pensions are unfair and unaffordable is exaggerated.
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Statement on moving to CPI as the measure of price inflation - DWP, DWP website, 12/07/2010
Comment on the move to increase pensions in line with CPI not RPI

RPI into CPI won't go, says John Ralfe - Pauline Skypala, FTfm blog, 10/07/2010
Can employers really change the terms of their pension contract with employees at the behest of government?

Think of pensions as gold bars - David Cule, Financial Times, 01/07/2010
The June 28 articles by John Hutton (“It is time to forge a new consensus on pensions”) and John Ralfe (“Time to talk real public sector pension costs”, FTfm) both highlight a debate that needs to take place. (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)


Think of pensions as Gold bars - David Cule, Financial Times, 01/07/2010

Time to talk real public sector pension costs - John Ralfe, FTfm, 28/06/2010
The Treasury, under Gordon Brown, fiddled the annual cost of new public sector pension promises to the tune of £120bn to £150bn. (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Public sector pension figures 'were fiddled under Brown' - Ruth Sunderland, The Observer, 27/06/2010
John Ralfe, one of the UK's leading pension experts, claims there is £150bn black hole in government accounts
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Pension commission's job: To avert national bankruptcy - Robert Peston, Robert Peston blog, 21/06/2010
If you are one of 11 million members of public-sector pension schemes, then you are a fortunate person.

Crisis in public sector pensions - Gerry Northam, Radio 4 File on 4, 13/06/2010
As MPs and senior officials retire on 'gold-plated' pensions, the media report that public sector pensions are heading for crisis.

Wrinkles in rich list for Whitehall - Sue Cameron, Financial Times, 02/06/2010
Should Whitehall pay packages include employer's pension contributions?

A crying shame - Sue Cameron, Financial Times, 28/04/2010
Deep dismay among mandarins who have just realised that Gordon Brown plans a hefty new tax on their public sector pensions.

Public sector pensions need sweeping reform, says CBI - Phillip Inman, The Guardian, 06/04/2010
The CBI warned that the cost of public sector pensions would undermine the government's finances without sweeping reforms.

Treasury 'in denial over pensions' - Neil Carberry & John Ralfe, BBC Radio 4 Today Programme interview, 06/04/2010
Head of pensions policy at the CBI Neil Carberry and John Ralfe discuss public sector pension reform.
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


The “Financial Economics” Debate - Dimitry Mindlin, CDI Advisors LLC, 02/04/2010
And the need for a new way forward

Nailing the big lie on pensions - Sue Cameron, Financial Times, 17/03/2010
A report that could expose an annual £15bn hole in public sector finances is sitting in Gordon Brown’s in-tray.

Restoring safety valves to the pensions system - Lindsay Tomlinson, Financial Times Letters, 17/03/2010
There is at least one thing that all concerned in accounting for pension will agree on: the current accounting standards are completely unsatisfactory.

File on 4 Pensions crisis - Fran Abrams, BBC Radio 4 File on 4, 14/03/2010
Fran Abrams investigates allegations that some companies are dumping their obligations on the PPF.

Don't blame the pensions crisis on accounting alone - Lombard (Andrew Hill), Financial Times, 12/03/2010
The NAPF stirring up a campaign to change pension accounting is like watching Turkeys argue for a change in date of Christmas.

Why Governments should issue longevity bonds - David Blake et al, The Pensions Institute, 12/03/2010
Arguments for governments to issue longevity bonds

Accounting rule threat to DB funds - Steve Johnson, FTfm, 08/03/2010
Changes to accounting standards will increase corporate pension schemes selling equities.

BT pensions - Lex, Financial Times, 02/03/2010
Ofcom is mulling whether to let BT increase the wholesale charges it levies on competitors to help shrink its deficit.

Rivals accuse BT of taking risks and digging £8.8bn pensions hole - Norma Cohen & Andrew Parker, Financial Times, 01/03/2010
BT's pension deficit is almost entirely of its own making because of inadequate contributions and a risky investment strategy.
See Competition Commission Review 2012


Pensions: benefit or bonus - Lombard (Andrew Hill), Financial Times, 27/02/2010
It appears some companies are considering linking their payments into dc schemes to profits (Aon).

Regulator takes aim as recession hits pensions - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 24/02/2010
The Pensions Regulator will appear in Canada, defending its efforts to lay claim to a portion of the assets of the bankrupt Nortel.

BT credit rating wavers - Tim Bradshaw, Financial Times, 19/02/2010
BT's credit rating is now one notch above junk after a downgrade from S&P.

Reader’s Digest UK arm files for administration - Salamander Davoudi, Financial Times, 18/02/2010
Reader’s Digest UK has filed for administration after it failed to secure backing from the UK pensions regulator.

BT set for dispute on pension shortfall - Norma Cohen & Andrew Parker, Financial Times, 12/02/2010
BT's share price dropped by 9 per cent, reflecting concern about disagreement between the company and the pensions regulator.

BT £9bn hole: How much could fall on taxpayers? - Robert Peston, Robert Peston blog, 11/02/2010
The hole in BT's pension fund is a jarring £9bn, according to the formal three-yearly valuation.

UK lenders vent fury at Basel plans - Brooke Masters & Patrick Jenkins, Financial Times, 10/02/2010
UK banks are seething about new international regulatory proposals and their treatment of db pensions.

The Church’s reckless investment gamble - John Ralfe, FTfm, 08/02/2010
The Church Commissioners are in denial about the real pension liability (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)
See Sunday Times article May 2012


Doubt cast on survival of EMI - Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson & Salamander Davoudi, Financial Times, 05/02/2010
EMI’s auditors have raised “significant doubt” about its ability to continue as a going concern.

Financial planners and Do no Harm - Zvi Bodie, Journal of Financial Planning, 01/02/2010
Our idea of financial literacy is to transfer risk from the corporate sector to the consumer.

Pensions: Led into temptation - Norma Cohen & Sam Jones, Financial Times, 12/01/2010
Article on C of E's pension problems
See JER FTfm article "The Church's reckless investment gamble" February 2010
See Sunday Times article May 2012


BA 'gearing up' to closing pensions - Martin Shankleman & John Ralfe, BBC Radio 4 Today Programme interview, 17/12/2009
Employment correspondent Martin Shankleman outlines the strike talks, and John Ralfe, discusses the airline's pension deficit.

Pension in a pear tree - Andrew Hill, Financial Times, 15/12/2009
At a time when British Airways' cabin crew is threatening Twelve Days of Chaos , it would be all too easy to ignore the Thirty Years of Stress the airline's deficit-ridden pension schemes portend.

Big battle looms over pensions - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 15/12/2009
British Airways yesterday signalled the start of a protracted battle with the Pensions Regulator over the price tag on its retirement obligations , the outcome of which will be crucial to its tie-up with Spain's Iberia.

BA Says Pension Deficit Is GBP3.7 Billion, Solution Required - Dow Jones, Dow Jones, 14/12/2009
British Airways PLC (BAY.LN) Monday said it has yet to decide how to tackle its pension deficit, which has risen 76% to GBP3.7 billion over the last three years. (photo: British Airways)

BSkyB and Carphone to fight proposal on BT pension fund - Norma Cohen & Andrew Parker, Financial Times, 02/12/2009
British Sky Broadcasting and Carphone Warehouse last night pledged to fight any move by regulators to allow BT to include some of the cost of reducing its large pension fund deficit in the wholesale charges it levies on rivals.
See Competition Commission Review 2012


Truell deal over Telent scheme - Paul J Davies, Financial Times, 25/11/2009
Edmund Truell’s Pension Corp has reached a deal to repair the £450m-plus deficit in the pension scheme of Telent, the rump of the former GEC Marconi business, which the specialist pensions buy-out firm took over in early 2008.

ASB calls for government bond pensions benchmark - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 21/11/2009
Company pension liabilities should be discounted by an interest rate equal to that on risk-free government bonds, an accounting approach that gives rise to much larger calculations of obligations, Britain's leading accountancy group said.

Regulator must take stance on pensions - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 20/11/2009
Pension trustees have been unwillingly thrust into the limelight in the past week. Two large transactions have been unveiled that place them at the heart of deals that are aimed at helping struggling companies survive the recession and expand.

BA pension liability may derail Iberia deal - Alistair Osborne, Daily Telegraph, 13/11/2009
British Airways has admitted that the UK pensions regulator is yet to examine, let alone approve, a crucial element of its proposed £4.4bn all-share merger with Spain's Iberia.

Church of England pensions - Shaun Farrell & John Ralfe, BBC Radio 4 Money Box , 12/11/2009
The C of E has been accused of 'reckless' investment policies after putting its whole £500 million fund in shares. We spoke to John Ralfe and Shaun Farrell, Chief Executive of the Church of England Pensions Board.
See JER FTfm article "The Church's reckless investment gamble" February 2010
See Sunday Times article May 2012


Court vetoes bid to ‘game’ pensions scheme - Jane Croft & Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 10/11/2009
Pension fund trustees at failing companies will be unable to “game” the system by using the assets of their underfunded schemes to protect high earners’ pension rights.

Church urged to publish advice that led to £400m stockmarket 'gamble - Phillip Inman, The Observer, 08/11/2009
The Church of England refused last night to publish investment advice covering more than £400m of pension assets, despite demands for information surrounding a £350m shortfall in the retirement scheme for priests.
See JER FTfm article "The Church's reckless investment gamble" February 2010
See Sunday Times article May 2012


Come on, Gordon and Alistair, you won’t even miss it - Mr Richard Bethell-Jones, Financial Times Letters, 06/11/2009
"I suggest the government slips the C of E Pension Scheme a few hundred million quids’ worth of the equity it has taken in the banks. The amount needed is so small no one would even notice."

Pensions deal to prevent dumping - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 05/11/2009
Pensions authorities in the US and UK have signed an agreement to stymie the growing number of transnational schemes that employers could use to dump billions of dollars of pension liabilities on to insurance schemes.

Parishioners can be assured that we are not gambling - Dr Jonathan Spencer, Financial Times Letters, 04/11/2009
"There is no such thing as a completely risk-free investment but I can assure parishioners that we are not gambling with their generous donations". (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)
See JER FTfm article "The Church's reckless investment gamble" February 2010
See Sunday Times article May 2012


Boot filler Blair - Sue Cameron, Financial Times, 04/11/2009
Independent pensions expert John Ralfe reminds me that we do know Tony Blair receives a pension of around £90,000 a year from the public purse.

Praying for a market miracle - Pauline Skypala, FTfm blog, 04/11/2009
Which institutions can afford a sufficient time horizon to be able to rely on the expectation that equities will outperform bonds over the longer term?

Vicars' pensions under threat as church is seduced by equity cul - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 03/11/2009
Young Anglican vicars are facing the prospect of a bleaker retirement after the Church of England's pension scheme succumbed to the "cult of equity" and sank 100 per cent of its investments into stocks towards the end of the 1990s bull market.
See JER FTfm article "The Church's reckless investment gamble" February 2010
See Sunday Times article May 2012


Gap between private and public sector pensions widens - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 29/10/2009
The number of staff saving for retirement through their private sector employer's defined benefit pension scheme slipped last year, while the number of those employed in the public sector and saving through a similar scheme rose, according to official data.
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Time to put some effort into DC - Pauline Skypala, FTfm, 26/10/2009
When it comes to making defined contribution pension schemes work better, the focus needs to be on how much is going in, according to Lindsay Tomlinson, chairman of the National Association of Pension Funds.

Low costs crucial for pension savings - Pauline Skypala, FTfm blog, 26/09/2009
Pension saving is too expensive. According to a report from the Royal Society of Arts, up to 40 per cent of pension savings disappear in fees and costs under the UK’s current system of private pension provision.

Flagship pension scheme delayed - Nicholas Timmins, Financial Times, 25/09/2009
The government’s flagship private pension saving scheme will not be up and running until October 2016, the DWP said – more than four years after the original start date.

Pension shortfalls approach £200bn - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 09/09/2009
Surging equities markets last month were insufficient to offset the effects of falling gilts yields, sending the aggregate shortfall of UK pension schemes up towards £200bn.

Pensions Commissions Report was flawed - John Ralfe, FTfm, 07/09/2009
Ignoring equity risk overstates the income personal pension accounts will generate and is wishful thinking on a grand scale.(PDF)
See FT website (paywall)
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note on the Turner Commission Report January 2005
See FTfm article "Ralfe challenges Turner report" by Pauline Skypala January 2005


RBS poised to scale back pension benefits for 62,000 workers - Norma Cohen and Jane Croft, Financial Times, 26/08/2009
RBS is scaling back pension benefits for about 62,500 employees.

Fears over ITV pensions deficit plan - Chris Tryhorn, Guardian, 11/08/2009
ITV proposal, designed to cut its pension deficit, could be storing up problems for the future, expert warns

Pension veteran predicts the return of DB schemes - Steve Johnson, Ftfm, 09/08/2009
The UK’s DB pension industry, once one of the finest on the planet, appears to be evaporating in a series of pathetic little fizzles, in the private sector at least.

BT: A blacker pension hole - Robert Peston, Robert Peston blog, 30/07/2009
BT seems to me to have been a bit disingenuous this morning in the way it has presented its first quarter results.
See JER FTfm article "Behind BT’s deep, dark pension deficit" May 2009


Pension pothole on GM’s road to recovery - John Ralfe, FTfm, 06/07/2009
Maintaining GM’s pensions is a hidden transfer of $3.5bn a year from the federal government.(PDF)
See FT website (paywall)


BT's pension scheme to hold less in equities - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 30/06/2009
The BT Group Pension Scheme - the UK's largest private sector retirement fund - had only enough money at the end of 2008 to pay about 57 per cent of promised benefits if the company were to become insolvent, and said it intended to pare back sharply its future investments in equities.

UK scheme liabilities 85% of GDP - Ruth Sullivan, Financial Times, 29/06/2009
UK public pension fund liabilities are spiralling way above those of the US and Canada, reaching the equivalent of 85 per cent of gross domestic product.

All aboard Europe’s caviar express - Sue Cameron, Financial Times, 17/06/2009
Lord and Lady Kinnock’s pension pots are worth about £4m, according to John Ralfe, an independent pensions expert.

‘Double whammy’ effect hits BT - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 16/06/2009
BT sponsor of Britain’s largest pension scheme, shocked investors last month by revealing that it would have to increase annual contributions to its pension scheme to £525m for each of the next three years, up from its current rate of £280m.

Public and private pensions - Worlds apart - The Economist, The Economist, 12/06/2009
Britain’s pensions apartheid looks unsustainable
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Britain’s pensions apartheid looks unsustainable - The Economist, The Economist, 11/06/2009
Company final-salary schemes were set on the path to extinction earlier this decade following a wave of closures to new recruits. Now BP, one of a handful of big firms that stood apart from the crowd then, is following suit.

General Motors still has a pension fund problem - John Gapper, Financial Times blog, 08/06/2009
Tony Jackson makes an interesting, and a bit scary, point about New General Motors, the part of the company that is supposed to spring out of Chapter 11 with its liabilities trimmed, ready to take on competitors in the auto industry.

GM shows gravity of pension challenge - Tony Jackson, Financial Times, 08/06/2009
The old GM’s US pension fund, with its near-$100bn (£63bn) of liabilities, is being transferred lock, stock and barrel to the new entity. As a direct result, the new GM could be bankrupt again in a very few years.
See JER FTfm article "Pension pothole on GM’s road to recovery" July 2009


Is this the end for final salary pensions? - Joanne Segars and John Ralfe, BBC Radio 4 Money Box interview, 06/06/2009
As 3 more firms cut their final salary pensions, is it the end for this type of scheme?
See JER FTfm article "Thoughts on the end (or not) of the DB era" January 2012


Barclays to scrap final salary pensions - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 04/06/2009
Barclays yesterday announced plans to close its final salary pension scheme to nearly 18,000 existing members, a contentious move likely to ease the path for other big employers which have been wary of taking such a step.
See JER FTfm article "Thoughts on the end (or not) of the DB era" January 2012


Calls to examine MPs' pensions - John Ralfe, BBC Radio 4 Today Programme interview, 01/06/2009
The pensions of MPs embroiled in the expenses scandal have come under scrutiny after it emerged that they are 50% more generous than in the rest of the public sector. John Ralfe looks at the overall cost to the taxpayer.
See JER FTfm article "MPs’ pensions fail transparency test" January 2008


Why BT’s pension line is out of order - Neil Collins, Reuters blog, 29/05/2009
It is a quarter of a century since the ground-breaking privatisation of BT. Unfortunately, it may not be many more years before a reluctant government is forced to take the company back into state ownership.

CBI complaints won’t wash - Pauline Skypala, FTfm blog, 26/05/2009
UK employers want to play a game of heads I win, tails you lose, with the members of their pension schemes.

Behind BT’s deep, dark pension deficit - John Ralfe, FTfm, 25/05/2009
BT’s fundamental approach since privatisation seems to be "keep betting on equities and hope for the best" (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)


Time to rethink the long equity bet - Pauline Skypala, Financial Times, 25/05/2009
The long-held belief that taking the risk of equity investment will be rewarding in the long term, and can be relied on to pay pensions, has been challenged by the experience of the credit crisis.

BA: Loaded down - Robert Peston, Robert Peston blog, 22/05/2009
The most striking number in British Airways results for the past year was the £3bn it spent on fuel, which was 44.5% higher than in the previous year.

The Speaker’s soft landing - Alex Barker, Financial Times Westminster blog, 18/05/2009
A couple of hours to go before the Speaker’s statement. Michael Martin will have an open mike to salvage his reputation and subdue the growing parliamentary insurrection.

Haunted by lack of clear disclosure of material risk - Tony Jackson, Financial Times, 18/05/2009
What is the point of the annual report and accounts? Evidently, it is to show the company’s profitability and the state of its balance sheet.

Pensions law snag to sale of ITV subsidiary - Ben Fenton, Financial Times, 16/05/2009
One of the strategies suggested to help ITV – selling the production arm that makes programmes – is not workable because of pension fund law.

Former PBGC director criticised in report - Norma Cohen, Tom Braithwaite & Greg Farrell, Financial Times, 15/05/2009
The former director of the US government agency that insures private sector pensions has been accused of "inappropriate contacts" with Wall Street companies bidding for contracts to manage up to $2.5bn of the agency's assets.
See Zvi Bodie and JER FT letter "US pension body’s shift over equities adds insult to injury" February 2008


(BT) Scheme funding increases 88% to £525m for next three years - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 15/05/2009
BT has nearly doubled the amount it will pay into its pension scheme to plug a £4bn projected shortfall.

BT faces doubling of pension fund bill - Norma Cohen and Andrew Parker, Financial Times, 12/05/2009
BT could be forced to double its annual pension contributions to up to £560m a year under a little-known but legally binding agreement it signed with the trustees of its pension scheme in 2006 and which was approved by the Pensions Regulator.

Royal Mail and HMG's creative accounting - Robert Peston, Robert Peston blog, 11/05/2009
Here's today's riddle: which financial black hole could be transformed into a mountain of gold simply by moving the ownership of the black hole from one part of the public sector to another?

Pension rescue to appear as £24bn windfall - Alex Barker and Jim Pickard, Financial Times, 09/05/2009
The rescue plan for the Royal Mail pension scheme is set to appear as a £24bn ($36bn) windfall on the government books, in a bizarre accounting quirk that saves the government from having to raise more debt.

LGPS: Over and out? - Paul Gosling, Local Government Chronicle, 07/05/2009
There is growing disquiet amongst the political classes and the media about public sector pensions.

Political pensions - the real scandal - Sue Cameron, Financial Times, 29/04/2009
Never mind MPs’ expenses - the real scandal is their pensions. See JER FTfm article "MPs’ pensions fail transparency test" January 2008

Boots considers closure of final salary pension - Elizabeth Rigby, Financial Times, 27/04/2009
Alliance Boots is considering closing its final salary scheme to existing employees, limiting the size of pension benefits that are salary linked.

Rage against the pensions machine - Adam Shaw, Financial Times, 17/04/2009
I am sitting in front of the inside-out building that is the largest insurer in the world – Lloyd’s of London. Behind me are some of the largest pension and investment companies. Skyscrapers such as these are built to impress.

Home-grown pension advice that is hard to swallow - Lombard (Andrew Hill), Financial Times, 09/04/2009
The congregation is bound to gossip about what the preacher gets up to at home.

MPs' pension scheme has £230m gap - Alex Barker and Jim Pickard, Financial Times, 08/04/2009
The MPs' pension scheme is nursing a £230m shortfall, leaving it with just half the assets required to cover its taxpayer-guaranteed pledges, according to analysis for the Financial Times.
See JER FTfm article "MPs’ pensions fail transparency test" January 2008


Switching to gilts is short-sighted - Clr Roy Oldham, FT letters, 31/03/2009
As chair of the Greater Manchester Local Government Pension Fund for more than 20 years, which is among the most successful in local government, I find John Ralfe’s ideas both unacceptable and an intrusion into the free working of local government.

Pension lifeboat in danger of sinking after £2bn Nortel hit - Phillip Inman and Simon Bowers, Guardian, 30/03/2009
The government came under increasing pressure last night to guarantee the pension lifeboat scheme after administrators for collapsed telecoms company Nortel revealed a £1.5bn pension deficit had ballooned since last year to £2bn.

A refusal to pass on the deficit offers scant comfort - John Thurston, Financial Times Letters, 27/03/2009
John Healey’s response seemed to be denial exemplified and makes John Ralfe’s case.

Council tax will not rise to meet public pension deficit - John Healey, Minister for Local Government, FT letters, 25/03/2009
The LGPS remains solvent and well placed to meet its liabilities.

In denial over public pensions - John Ralfe, FTfm, 23/03/2009
Neither local authorities nor central government recognise the size of the LGPS deficit and thus have no plan to address it. (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Strategy to avoid a pension catastrophe - John Authers, Financial Times, 21/03/2009
The subject was whether there was any point in trying to time the market and whether equities could be trusted for the long run – always topics that interest investors.

The ministerial dog that did not bark - Sue Cameron, Financial Times, 18/03/2009
Do you think anyone in Whitehall told Paul Myners about that bit in the ministerial code that talks about "the overarching duty on ministers . . . to protect the integrity of public life"?

Adam Smith's market never stood alone - Amartya Sen, Financial Times, 11/03/2009
Smith never used the term capitalism, and it would also be hard to carve out from his works any theory of the sufficiency of the market economy, or of the need to accept the dominance of capital.

UK need for pension buy-out still strong - Ruth Sullivan, Financial Times, 02/03/2009
As the gap between pension fund assets and liabilities increases, a growing number of sponsors are looking to reduce their exposure to expensive defined benefit schemes and hand over management to an insurer through a buy-out.

Is Fred’s pot actually £25m? - Jim Pickard, Financial Times Westminster blog, 26/02/2009
The FSA’s handy pension calculator shows his total pension pot is closer to £25m. Yes, there’s even more cash for Alistair Darling to claw back.

Taxpayers’ real help now for Gordon - Sue Cameron, Financial Times, 25/02/2009
Is Gordon Brown running a system of outdoor relief for redundant bankers?

Trustee sounds alarm on Royal Mail pensions - Jim Pickard, Financial Times, 25/02/2009
The 450,000 members of Royal Mail’s pension plan face “devastating consequences”, including the slashing of benefits, if the business is not part-privatised, the head of the fund’s trustees has warned.

Regulator walks pension tightrope - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 19/02/2009
Of all the balancing acts in today's precarious economy, few roles are more delicately poised than that of the UK Pensions Regulator and its chairman, David Norgrove.

Pension calculations have ignored equity risk - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 10/02/2009
Personal pension accounts will fail because the Pensions Commission's underlying analysis is fundamentally flawed and misrepresents the economics of holding equities. (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note on the Turner Commission Report January 2005
See FTfm article "Ralfe challenges Turner report" by Pauline Skypala January 2005


For a quick profit, try picking a pensioner's pocket - Tony Jackson, Financial Times, 09/02/2009
The running sore of corporate pensions has flared up again. As recently as last June, according to official calculations, UK schemes overall were in modest surplus. They now show a record deficit of £195bn ($288bn) - worse than in the depths of the 2003 bear market.

Stay Posted On The Royal Mail Modernisation - Jim Pickard, Financial Times Westminster blog, 07/02/2009
I mention this before drawing your attention to a small and obscure clause in the Hooper report on the modernisation of the Royal Mail.

Royal Mail workers: workers’ pensions may be under threat either - Jim Pickard, Financial Times Westminster blog, 03/02/2009
John Ralfe, the pensions guru, believes that workers’ cast iron pensions could be doomed either way. “As soon as the government addresses the pensions issue - with or without privatisation – they have to effectively involve state aid,”

NAPF launches campaign to save DB pensions - Joanne Segars, Financial Times, 26/01/2009
There can be no doubt that the current economic crisis is having a profound effect on UK pension provision.

Nortel outlay to reveal cracks in PPF - John Ralfe, FTfm, 26/01/2009
Because the PPF was not set up to charge an economic rate, it was always going to be under pressure

Church places faith in full-time investment professional - Kate Burgess and Adrian Cox, Financial Times, 16/01/2009
The Church of England has set out to recruit a new director of investments to oversee its £6bn portfolio of earthly riches.
See JER FTfm article "The Church’s reckless investment gamble" February 2010
See Sunday Times article May 2012


Treasury Select Committee - First Report Administration and expenditure of the Chancellor's departments, 2007-08 - Treasury Select Committee, Treasury Select Committee, 14/01/2009
150. There are those, such as pensions consultant John Ralfe, who contest the method of valuation used by GAD.[181] [for the Coal Board Pension Schemes] They argue that if alternative valuation methods are employed the scheme appears to be in deficit and thus represents a liability for the British Taxpayer.
See JER FTfm article "Public sector pensions - at what future cost?" July 2008


Asset gap puts fate of retirees in doubt - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 06/01/2009
Hundreds of current and former Ireland-based employees of Waterford Wedgwood could lose all or part of their pension as a result of the company's collapse because the scheme currently does not have enough assets in it to pay all promised benefits.

Looking Out for the Next Bailout - Alan B. Krueger, New York Times, 22/12/2008
When the stock market falls P.B.G.C. gets hit by a double whammy.

Alarm bells ringing over security of covenants - Ruth Sullivan, Financial Times, 15/12/2008
Covenant risk is a growing concern for pension funds as their asset values plunge in falling equity markets, leaving employers to face rising deficits.

Shell pension scheme value falls 40% - Norma Cohen & Ed Crooks, Financial Times, 13/12/2008
Investments in Royal Dutch Shell's Netherlands pension fund have dropped by 40 per cent since the start of the year and the scheme has fallen far short of the regulatory minimum requirement, the company has told employees.
See JER FTfm article "Thoughts on the end (or not) of the DB era" January 2012


Pension Protection Fund - Presented by Paul Lewis, BBC Radio 4 Moneybox, 13/12/2008
Discussion on the PPF with Partha Dasgupta and John Ralfe

PPF calm in face of growing asset shortfall - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 10/12/2008
As the Pension Protection Fund unveiled the biggest-ever gap between the retirement benefits it insures and the cash available to pay them, it recalled a time more than five years ago before the safety net was created.

Pensions lifeboat risks being swamped - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 09/12/2008
Britain's corporate pension funds are facing mounting shortfalls that are growing so rapidly that they now threaten to swamp the government-created lifeboat designed to guarantee the retirement funds of millions of workers.

Public sector set for wealthier retirement - Sharlene Goff, Financial Times, 05/12/2008
But while those about to draw benefits from a private scheme face the dilemma of taking an income far below their expectations or postponing their retirement, members of public sector schemes are sitting pretty.
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Liabilities and a questionable convention - Harvey Cole, Financial Times Letters, 04/12/2008
John Ralfe’s arithmetic (Letters, December 2) is, as always, impeccable. But the convention of discounting public sector liabilities by reference to the yield of long-term gilts is open to question.

Investment risk has been switched to the employee - Prof Alasdair Smith, Financial Times Letters, 03/12/2008
John Ralfe writes that the public sector should emulate the private sector in moving from defined benefit to defined contribution pensions.

Public sector pensions debate requires clarity on costs - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 02/12/2008
Getting clarity on public sector pension costs is technically easy, but politically difficult. (PDF) See FT website (paywall)
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


The pension divide - Editorial, Financial Times, 28/11/2008
Providing for a nation’s old age is probably the longest-term issue facing any government, So an off-the-cuff comment is not the obvious way to develop pensions policy.

Collapse promises huge headache for PPF - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 28/11/2008
The Pension Protection Fund faces one of the largest claims on its already-stretched fund with the collapse of Woolworths. It is bracing for a string of other, possibly bigger, claims, as the recession bites harder.

Was Cameron off-script? - Alex Barker, Financial Times Westminster blog, 27/11/2008
The Tories are rapidly distancing themselves from the suggestion — made by their leader — that public sector pensions should be phased out.
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Congress should resist push to delay pension contributions - Jeremy Gold & Daniel P Cassidy, Pensions & Investments US, 24/11/2008
Authors argue contributions find their way to corporate coffers

Pensions put longevity near top of hazards list - Pauline Skypala, FTfm, 17/11/2008
Longevity risk is second only to investment risk for UK pension schemes, according to a report by Aberdeen Asset Management.

High corporate bond yields flatter pension fund liabilities - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 14/11/2008
John Ralfe, an independent pensions consultant, said not only is the discount rate abnormally high, but BT does not appear to have brought its longevity assumptions into line with UK trends.

Snouts and trotters in the trough - Sue Cameron, Financial Times, 12/11/2008
The cheating classes just don't get it.

Equity income is all in the timing - Pauline Skypala, FTfm, 08/11/2008
The longer term is what Clare College has in mind with its investment policy, revealed last week, of taking out a £15m 40-year loan to invest in equities.

Clare and present danger - Buttonwood, The Economist, 06/11/2008
There is a flaw in the belief, widely held in the 1990s, that all one has to do is buy and hold equities to ensure a handsome return in the long run.

Dial C for clarification - Lombard (Andrew Hill), Financial Times, 04/11/2008
Nearly 25 years after the Telecommunications Act prepared the way for privatisation of BT, the government and the company are still discussing how a Crown Guarantee underpins the telecoms group's pension scheme.

BT looks at raising retirement age as part of pension overhaul - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 03/11/2008

Clare is taking calculated risk - Norman Cumming, Financial Times Letters, 03/11/2008
Clare is taking a risk, but a calculated risk, to which the governing body gave much thought.

BT Group pensions: How much are taxpayers on the hook? - John Ralfe, JER Website, 03/11/2008
How much are taxpayers guaranteeing, if the Crown guarantee covers 75% of liabilities?

Is it time to give up on equities? - James Daley, The Independent, 01/11/2008
James Daley asks if the stock market is ever the right option for private investors

Did Clare fellows ask the cost of insuring deal? - John Ralfe & Prof Alasdair Smith, Financial Times Letters, 30/10/2008
The expected long-term outperformance of equities is not a reward for patience or a "loyalty bonus", but no more or less than a reward for risk.

(Clare) College to invest £15m loan in shares - David Turner, Financial Times, 28/10/2008
One of Cambridge's oldest colleges has borrowed money for the first time in its 700-year history in a "sensational deal" devised to take advantage of the investment opportunities presented by the credit crunch.

New PPF rules needed to protect taxpayers - John Ralfe, FTfm, 27/10/2008
If we do not grasp the pension nettle now we will store up bigger problems for the future with an eventual taxpayer bail-out. (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)


Underfunded public sector schemes cause concern in UK - Steve Johnson, Financial Times, 06/10/2008
The problems besetting private pension systems are well known, but in many ways it is public sector pensions where the problems are most intractable.
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


MPs’ fund benefits from falling prices - Alex Barker and Jim Pickard, Financial Times, 01/10/2008
Ministers and MPs, including those denouncing City “spivs” and “destructive” short selling, have invested in hedge funds that cash in on falling shares via the parliamentary pension scheme.
See JER FTfm article "MPs’ pensions fail transparency test" January 2008


Pensions regulator softens stance - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 24/09/2008
The Pennsions Regulator yesterday rowed back on its proposals to require schemes to use assumptions about life expectancy that could have required them to add billions of pounds in additional funding.

L&G aims to cap pension liabilities - Andrew Taylor, Financial Times, 19/09/2008
Legal & General insurance group is attempting to cap its final salary pension liabilities by proposing that only the first 2 per cent of an annual pay rise should be taken into account to determine benefits.

Focus DIY puts private equity in pension spotlight - Norma Cohen and Martin Arnold, Financial Times, 12/09/2008
Earlier this week, news broke that the Pensions Regulator had forced Duke Street Capital to top up the pension scheme of retailer Focus DIY even after the private equity firm had sold it.

CSFI Roundtable on public sector pensions - John Ralfe, CSFI Roundtable , 09/09/2008
Speeech delivered at the CSFI Roundtable on public sector pensions
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


Pensions regulator considers impact on scheme - June Mulroy, Financial Times Letters, 08/09/2008
Letter from the Pensions Regulator’s clarifying its role in relation to corporate transactions

Pension costs mistated by £15bn - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 08/09/2008
The cost of pension promises to 3.25m public sector workers is about £15bn more each year than government admits, even after recent cuts in benefits for new members and increased contributions for some other workers, according to a new study.
See Nick Timmins FT article "UK backs down over public sector pensions" October 2005


C&W pensions move points to possible break-up - Norma Cohen & Andrew Parker, Financial Times, 04/09/2008
Cable and Wireless has paved the way towards a possible break-up of the UK telecoms group by offloading £1bn ($1.77bn) of pension liabilities.

Priority One for the PPF - Lombard (Norma Cohen), Financial Times, 29/08/2008
Before Partha Dasgupta steps down as chief executive of the PPF, he has to create a framework for assessing risk-based levies that takes into account the investment risks posed by each pension scheme's assets.

Pension deficits - by any name - Matthew Vincent, Financial Times, 16/08/2008
Pension consultant John Ralfe puts unfunded public sector pension liabilities at above £800bn - a cost that is "grossly understated" by government departments.

Perfect storm hits pensions five years after last one - Lombard (Chris Hughes), Financial Times, 12/08/2008
They called it a perfect storm when UK pension schemes got hit by a painful combination of falling assets and rising liabilities in 2003. It is happening again.

Tories urge review into pension fund 'siphoning' (Miners' pension schemes) - Jim Pickard, Financial Times, 04/08/2008
More than £4bn has been "siphoned" out of two miners' pension funds by the government in the past decade, a move that could store future pain for taxpayers.
See JER FTfm article "Public sector pensions - at what future cost?" July 2008


Pru takes on part of Rank’s pension scheme - Andrea Felstead, Financial Times, 24/07/2008
Prudential is set to mark its return to the lucrative pensions buy-out market with an estimated £350m deal to take on part of the Rank pension scheme from Goldman Sachs.

Treasury's basic mistake about public pensions - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 21/07/2008
The Treasury doggedly refuses to recognise that public sector pensions are government debt, the same as issuing index-linked gilts to public sector workers. (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)
See JER CSFI speech September 2008


Whitehall cover-up on pension payoff - Sue Cameron, Financial Times, 16/07/2008
So, Paul Gray, the top official who carried the can when Revenue and Customs lost discs containing half the nation’s bank details, appears to have hit the jackpot.

Public sector pensions - at what future cost? - John Ralfe, FTfm, 14/07/2008
The huge payments to government and members from the Coal Board pension schemes are being made from fictitious surpluses.(PDF)
See FT website (paywall)


Spotlight on British Coal Pension Schemes - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum Note 54, 11/07/2008
When British Coal was privatised in 1994 the Government guaranteed payment of pension entitlements, plus inflation-linked increases and receives 50% of surpluses calculated at Actuarial Valuations.

If the old refuse to die, let them work longer - Michael Spakinker, Financial Times, 17/06/2008
The increase in human lifespan since the mid-19th century is startling.

PPF’s flaws due to quick-fix birth - John Ralfe, FTfm, 09/06/2008
If there is a bail-out by taxpayers we should not blame the PPF’s board, who have been genuinely robust and pragmatic. (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)


The Undercover Economist: Maybe Our Pension Worries Are Overdone - Tim Harford, Financial Times, 07/06/2008
Here's the conventional wisdom on pensions: you're a weak-willed and short-sighted fool who isn't saving enough, and as a result you will spend your retirement in poverty.

Pension Costs Off by $500 Million, New York City Finds - Danny Hakim, New York Times, 03/06/2008
An actuary relied upon by the State Legislature to determine the cost of proposals affecting New York City’s pension system underestimated their ultimate cost by at least $500 million.

To the manor elected - The Economist, The Economist, 30/05/2008
MPs’ plush pensions could be the next controversy See JER FTfm article "MPs’ pensions fail transparency test" January 2008

Nice little earners for Mr Speaker - Sue Cameron, Financial Times, 28/05/2008
No credit crunch worries Michael Martin, the Commons Speaker, who, I am told, is sitting on two enormous nest eggs – courtesy of the ever-generous taxpayer.

Pensions actuaries under scrutiny - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 27/05/2008
Financial regulators have singled out pensions actuaries for a tougher level of scrutiny in their proposed oversight framework for the profession and warned that they will take further steps if the measures prove ineffective

Royal Mail’s need for cash back on agenda - John Willman, Financial Times, 16/05/2008
Royal Mail’s urgent need for new investment is firmly on the agenda following the regulator’s demand on Thursday that the postal operator should be freed to raise capital from the private sector.

Top companies seek to offload risk of their pension obligations - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 08/05/2008
More of the UK's 100 biggest listed companies are looking to get rid of pension liabilities because the price of offloading their risk has fallen.

Regulator to break new ground in EMI pensions struggle - Norma Cohen & Martin Arnold, Financial Times, 01/05/2008
The confrontation between the trustees of the EMI pension scheme and Terra Firma, the company's new owner, breaks new ground for the Pensions Regulator.

Climate change policy depends on difficult ethical questions - Wilfred Beckerman, Financial Times Letters, 28/04/2008
What a barrage of letters criticising my own of April 22; all containing mistakes, three of which by Adair Turner (April 24).

Statement on use of extended powers - The Pensions Regulator, website, 25/04/2008
Reassurance from TPR that the new powers will be used sparingly

Letter to Congress on PBGC - US Congessional Budget Office, PBGC website, 24/04/2008
CBO’s analysis of the PBGC’s controversial decision to move back into equites See Zvi Bodie and JER FT letter "US pension body’s shift over equities adds insult to injury" February 2008

Death knell sounds for pensions model - Steve Johnson, Financial Times, 21/04/2008
Last week was a joyous one for the army of insurance companies lining up to seize control of unwanted defined benefit pension schemes clogging up the balance sheets of the UK’s corporate sector.

SSRB is not concerned with cost of MPs’ pensions - Sir John Baker, Financial Times Letters, 11/04/2008
Response to JER letter on MPs’ pensions

Should we halve MPs’ pensions? - Alex Barker, Financial Times Westminster blog, 09/04/2008
This will not please our elected representatives. John Ralfe, the former head of corporate finance at Boots and an indefatigable apostle for the cause of trimming MPs’ “outrageous” pensions, has just launched his latest assault. See JER FTfm article "MPs’ pensions fail transparency test" January 2008

Cost of MPs’ pensions to taxpayers grossly understated - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 07/04/2008
The real cost of MPs’ annual pensions to taxpayers is 50% of salary not 18%, the official figure. (PDF)
See FT website (paywall)
See JER FTfm article "MPs’ pensions fail transparency test" January 2008


Pensions accounting - Lex, Financial Times, 28/03/2008
The latest consultation on pensions from the International Accounting Standards Board, the guardian of international financial reporting standards, is, therefore, a welcome initiative.

Pensions still oblivious to bond wisdom - Edward Chancellor, FTfm, 03/03/2008
It remains a mystery why more CFOs haven’t responded to Black’s brilliant proposal.
See Fischer Black article "The Tax Consequences of Long-Run Pensions Policy" 1980


US pension body’s shift over equities adds insult to injury - Zvi Bodie & John Ralfe, Financial Times Letter (US), 26/02/2008
Holding more equities looks like the PBGC trying to bet its way out of a loss. (PDF) See FT website (paywall)

US pensions safety net takes risky path - Pauline Skypala, FTfm, 25/02/2008
Organisations like the PBGC surely have a duty to put risk management first and foremost.

Running up the down escalator - Economist, The Economist, 21/02/2008
Like the Pensions Regulator’s guidance on longevity, the ASB’s proposals inject realism.

US pension guarantor turns to risky assets - Norma Cohen and Anuj Gangahar, Financial Times, 19/02/2008
The government-sponsored body that insures the pensions of 44m Americans is to dramatically increase its investments in risky assets such as equities and real estate as it tries to avoid the need for a taxpayer bailout.

The Pensions Regulator’s new approach to Longevity Assumptions - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum Note 49, 19/02/2008
The Pensions Regulator has published a statement setting out its new approach to analysing the longevity assumptions used by pension schemes for their formal Valuations and Recovery Plans.

PBGC Press Release 08-19, February 18, 2008 - PBGC, Website, 18/02/2008
The PBGC announces its move to equities. See Zvi Bodie and JER FT letter "US pension body’s shift over equities adds insult to injury" February 2008

Clearer view of pension costs in the offing - John Ralfe, FTfm, 18/02/2008
Given the scale of pensions, BT is the UK’s largest pension scheme that just happens to own a telecoms business
See FT website (paywall)


Pensions Regulator’s Paper on Longevity - The Pensions Regulator, TPR website, 18/02/2008
Sets out guidelines on acceptable longevity assumptions

Companies face the real costs of pensions - Norma Cohen and Jennifer Hughes, Financial Times, 18/02/2008
Nearly two decades ago, when BT Group badly needed to restructure its workforce, the UK’s privatised telecommunications carrier offered generous early retirement benefits to encourage staff to go voluntarily

Warning on pensioners' longevity - BBC Website, BBC Website, 18/02/2008
The Pensions Regulator has told pension scheme trustees that they should use more realistic assumptions about how long their members are likely to live.

BT pension hole would worsen under ASB - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 07/02/2008
BT Group could see its pension deficit balloon to £4.6bn from £400m if it were required to report its retirement liabilities and assets under new rules proposed last week by the Accounting Standards Board.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "BT Group & The New Accounting Proposals" February 2008


Pensions "can wipe out BT profits" - Phillip Inman, The Guardian, 07/02/2008
BT would be one of the worst affected by the rule changes because it supports the largest private sector guaranteed retirement fund.

BT warned retirement liabilities could hit £46bn - David Litterick, Daily Telegraph, 07/02/2008
BT's pension liabilities could balloon to nearly £46bn and its current surplus turn into a deficit to £7.6bn

BT Group & The New Accounting Proposals - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum Note 48, 07/02/2008
The UK ASB and the major European accounting bodies have issued a Discussion Paper on pensions. The major proposals to discount at “a risk-free rate” and to include actual, not expected, asset returns in the P & L, are likely to become compulsory, but timing is unclear

Up the pensions pressure - Lombard (Andew Hill), Financial Times, 31/01/2008
It is strange that stricter pension accounting should be last on the list of issues that companies want to talk about.

The Financial Reporting of Pensions - Accounting Standards Board, ASB website, 31/01/2008
ASB Discussion Paper on reforms to pensions accounting

Market falls wipe £15bn off pensions - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 26/01/2008
Falling stock markets and interest rates have wiped £15bn off the value of UK company pension schemes so far this year, calling into question their investment strategies and reviving concerns about underfunding.

MPs’ pensions fail transparency test - John Ralfe, FTfm, 21/01/2008
How has the Senior Salaries Review Body got the cost of MPs’ pensions so wrong?
See FT website (paywall)


What is the real cost of MPs' pensions? - Lisa Buckingham, Mail on Sunday, 20/01/2008
Clearly, our elected representatives find numbers something of a challenge.
See JER FTfm article "MPs’ pensions fail transparency test" January 2008


Time to vote out MPs' pension deal - Ruth Sunderland, The Observer, 20/01/2008
Here are some words I don't get to write often enough: Gordon Brown has done the right thing on pensions.
See JER FTfm article "MPs’ pensions fail transparency test" January 2008


Annual cost of MPs' pensions triples - Chris Hope, Daily Telegraph, 09/01/2008
It is very convenient for MPs that the cost of their pensions is understated.

Taxpayers to foot £16m bill for MPs’ pensions - Alex Barker, Financial Times, 08/01/2008
The cost to the taxpayer of MPs’ pensions is more than double the official estimate, which could undermine backbenchers’ demands for a big pay rise. See JER FTfm article "MPs’ pensions fail transparency test" January 2008

Hole truth on pensions - Lombard (Andew Hill), Financial Times, 04/01/2008
It is two years since Britain's "pensions black hole" made the front page of the Daily Mail.

Sir Humprey’s Legacy: An Update - Neil Record, Institute of Economic Affairs, 02/01/2008
Analysis of UK unfunded public sector pensions

Trinity Mirror in £175m buy-back - Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson and Maggie Urry, Financial Times, 20/12/2007
Trinity Mirror has stepped up its share buy-back plans in an effort to shore up its weak share price.
See JER FTfm article "Newspaper puts creditors before pensions" March 2012


Pensions: No end to shortfalls - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 29/11/2007
In one of the more cheerful financial stories of recent times, deficits at pension schemes in the UK and Europe generally, are falling. Thanks to higher bond yields that have the effect of reducing liabilities and strong equities markets, the classic inve

Fierce competition leaves DB members exposed - Pauline Skypala, Financial Times, 26/11/2007
Rumours abound in the UK's defined benefit pension market. There is little transparency and details of deals done to reduce or offload pension liabilities are not necessarily in the public arena, which puts pension fund trustees at an information disadvan

End the pensions fudge - Andrew Hill, Financial Times, 24/11/2007
Equity markets have given up almost all of their gains for the year. Meanwhile, the flight to quality in debt markets is pushing gilt yields lower.

Appeals panel jolt for Telent proposal - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 17/11/2007
Pension Corporation's acquisition of Telent and its plans for its pension scheme presented such an enormous conflict of interest that the Pension Regulator needed to appoint independent and unremoveable trustees in order to safeguard members' benefits, ac

Towards a Conceptual Framework : Consultation Paper - Board For Actuarial Standards, BAS website, 15/11/2007
Consultation by the BAS, which now sets actuarial standards

Paternoster acquires Emap's two main pensions schemes - Norma Cohen and Ben Fenton, Financial Times, 14/11/2007
In a deal claimed as the first of its kind, Paternoster, the bulk-annuities group, has completed the acquisition of the two main Emap pension schemes.

Postal deal signed but will it deliver? - John Ralfe, FTfm, 12/11/2007
Is the deal agreed with enough to solve Royal Mail's pension problems?
See FT website (paywall)


Ford faces UK pensions hitch - Martin Arnold and John Reed , Financial Times, 09/11/2007
Jaguar andLand Rover have an estimated pension deficit of more than $2bn, meaning Ford is likely to have to pay any buyer to take the British luxury car brands off its hands, people close to the situation said.

Consultant warns on deficit proposals - John Willman, Financial Times, 06/11/2007
Royal Mail’s plans to tackle its £5bn pension deficit will plug barely half the gap and rely on the scheme’s share portfolio to eliminate the rest, according to a new analysis.
See JER FTfm article "Postal deal signed but will it deliver?" November 2007


Shell UK takes pension contribution holiday - Norma Cohen and Maggie Urry, Financial Times, 02/10/2007
Shell UK, part of the Royal Dutch Shell oil group, is taking the now unusual step of halting its contributions to its pension scheme for at least a year.
See JER FTfm article "Thoughts on the end (or not) of the DB era" January 2012


Talking head: Next generation of pensions investing - Zvi Bodie, FTfm, 02/10/2007
Inexpensive PCs and internet access have made it possible to gather information quickly, order consumer goods, pay bills, and even earn a living from one's home.

Pension Protection Fund Accounts 2006/7 - PPF, PPF website, 01/10/2007
Shows PPF longevity assumptions & method of valuing liabilities

Rank to consider sale of its pensions scheme - Elaine Moore and Andrea Felstead, Financial Times, 03/09/2007
Rank Group, the casino and bingo hall operator, is exploring the possibility of selling the assets and liabilities for its £700m pensions scheme. The scheme is one of the largest to come into the market and is likely to be of significant interest to a number of banks and insurance companies.

Comprehensive cover - Lombard (Andew Hill), Financial Times (scroll down page), 09/08/2007
Pity the Pension Protection Fund, then, which collects a premium annually from pension schemes, most of which probably feel they will never use the fund and that their contribution is helping to bail out scheme sponsors that should have handled their affairs better.

House of Commons Accounts 2006-7 - NA, TSO, 24/07/2007
Shows the FRS17 cost of MPs’ pensions (p33)

Why index-linked annuities beckon - Pauline Skypala, Financial Times, 23/07/2007
Too little attention is paid to inflation protection for retirement income. In the UK, where annuity purchase by age 75 is mandatory for private pension savings, only 6 per cent of people buy an inflation-linked annuity.

Appealing to the pensions referee - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 02/07/2007
The highly leveraged bids for two of Britain’s biggest high street names – J Sainsbury and Alliance Boots – has thrust the Pensions Regulator into the spotlight and left some asking whether it needs more power to safeguard the pension schemes of companies targeted by private equity.

Watchdog issues demand to Sea Containers - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 28/06/2007
The Pension Regulator issued its first formal demand for financial support to a scheme after its parent company, which is undergoing a reorganisation, declined to put forward a funding plan of its own for more than a year.

Testing the UK Pensions Regulator - John Ralfe, FTfm, 25/06/2007
What does the Alliance Boots deal tell us about the powers of the Pensions Regulator?
See FT website (paywall)


Pensions regulator suggested as arbiter - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 25/06/2007
The Pensions Regulator should be given the power to determine how much money should be forcibly placed in a company's pension scheme at the time of any bid, one of the UK's most prominent business leaders has said.

KKR in deal over Boots pensions - Norma Cohen & Tom Braithwaite, Financial Times, 20/06/2007
The KKR-led consortium buying Alliance Boots yesterday reached a last-minute agreement with trustees of the Boots pension scheme, averting a legal challenge to the scheme of arrangement through which the consortium is to buy the company.
See JER FTfm article "Testing the UK Pensions Regulator" June 2007


A warning shot across the bows of ICI bidders - Lombard (Andew Hill), Financial Times, 19/06/2007
It is hard to see why ICI’s pension trustees should have a problem with Akzo Nobel as the ultimate guarantor of the chemicals group’s pension fund.

Why Do Firms Offer Risky Defined Benefit Pension Plans? - David A. Love, Paul A. Smith & David Wilcox, Federal Reserve Board, Washington, 13/06/2007
Even risky pension sponsors could offer essentially riskless pension promises by contributing a sufficient level of resources to their pension trust funds and by investing those resources in fixed-income securities designed to deliver their payoffs just as pension obligations are coming due.
See Federal Reserve website


Trustees in threat to Boots deal - Tom Braithwaite & Andrew Taylor, Financial Times, 04/06/2007
The Alliance Boots pension fund trustees are considering legal action to block the £11.1bn acquisition of the health and beauty group by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the private equity firm.
See JER FTfm article "Testing the UK Pensions Regulator" June 2007


The pension prescription Boots doesn't need to fill - Zoe Wood, The Observer, 03/06/2007
The high-street chemist's staff are demanding a £1bn package to secure their retirement now that the company is going private - but it's not clear that any deal will be imposed on the new owners.
See JER FTfm article "Testing the UK Pensions Regulator" June 2007


Acquiring companies ought to be reliable pension guarantors - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 23/05/2007
The prospective takeovers of two of Britain's biggest retailers, supermarket chain J Sainsbury and high street chemist Alliance Boots, produced demands for billions of pounds from trustees of both companies' pension schemes.

Robert Merton and the appliance of financial science - Helen Thomas, Financial Times Alphaville blog, 21/05/2007
The co-creator of the Black-Scholes formula argues that most companies have been extraordinarily inefficient in their use of capital, because they have not worked out which risks they have a comparative advantage in handling – and which they do not.

Better DC schemes on the way, but DB is not dead yet - Pauline Skypala, FTfm, 21/05/2007
Asset managers are looking to the future of retirement provision, and seem to have decided it is defined contribution.

The appliance of financial science - Gillian Tett, Financial Times, 21/05/2007
When Robert Merton invented the "Black-Scholes" formula back in the early 1970s, he never bothered to file a patent for the idea.

Private equity industry loses the plot over timing - Tony Jackson, Financial Times, 21/05/2007
Every time you think private equity has scaled the peaks of death-defying risk, a new Everest comes into view.

Major UK pension schemes in the black - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 19/05/2007
Britain’s largest pension schemes have moved into the black for the first time in more than five years, suggesting that many of the nation’s employers have turned a corner in their battle to avert a future pensions crisis.

Beware, hidden liabilities - Lombard (Andew Hill), Financial Times, 03/05/2007
The Pensions Regulator's attempt to put steel in the backbone of pension trustees is welcome, although it is likely to raise a groan from buy-out firms, which already have a tough time making leveraged public-to-private deals stick in the UK.

Alliance Boots' trustees in strong position with KKR - John Ralfe, FTfm, 30/04/2007
KKR do not want to be seen as barbarians at the gate and must win the goodwill of employees, pension scheme members and the wider public.
See FT website (paywall)
See JER FTfm article "Testing the UK Pensions Regulator" June 2007


Pensions surplus poses problems - Nicholas Timmins, Financial Times, 30/04/2007
Almost one third of Britain's 200 largest pension schemes are now in surplus, according to Aon, the pension consultants. The shift - from massive deficits to a better than 60 per cent chance that they will all be in surplus in just three years - posed, in itself, big problems for companies, Aon warned.

What about pensions in the Alliance Boots’ private equity takeover? - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum Note 42, 25/04/2007
The Independent Directors of Alliance Boots have recommended the acquisition of the Company for £11.1bn from a consortium led by KKR and Mr Stefano Pessina, the Deputy Chairman and largest shareholder, seeing off a rival private equity approach.
See JER FTfm article "Testing the UK Pensions Regulator" June 2007


A pensions house of cards that was always going to fall - Adair Turner, Financial Times, 23/04/2007
History is often rewritten for political purposes.
See JER RBC Capital Martkets Note on the Turner Commission Report January 2005
See FTfm article "Ralfe challenges Turner report" by Pauline Skypala January 2005


The pensions prophets 10 years on - Barry Riley, FTfm, 23/04/2007
The so-called "EMS" paper presented to the Institute of Actuaries in London 10 years ago, on April 28 1997, blew the gaffe on a whole era of actuarial practice in relation to corporate pension funds in the UK. A decade later it can clearly be seen as truly revolutionary.
See Exley, Mehta and Smith's paper "The Financial Theory of Defined Benefit Pension Schemes" April 1997


Longevity: Old age, the threat no one thought to predict - Steve Johnson, FTfm, 21/04/2007
But these developments have simply shone more light on the one risk that, as yet, cannot be hedged out: that of rising longevity.

Pensions regulator defends FRS17 - Pauline Skypala, Financial Times, 02/04/2007
The Pensions Regulator last week mounted a robust defence of FRS17, the accounting standard used to measure pension fund deficits on company balance sheets that has come under attack from some quarters.

J Sainsbury takeover discussions - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum Note 41, 27/03/2007
The Takeover Panel has given a private equity consortium a deadline of April 13th to make a formal bid for J Sainsbury. With a likely price of £10bn, this would be the largest private equity deal in Europe, if successful.

A step towards a market in longevity - Pauline Skypala, FTfm, 19/03/2007
The one risk they just have to live with is paying out to pensioners for longer than expected if their longevity assumptions turn out to be too low.

Boots in play Bitter pill - The Economist, The Economist, 15/03/2007
Five weeks after news broke of a bid for J. Sainsbury KKR, announced a £9.7 billion offer for Alliance Boots, Britain's largest chain of chemists.
See JER FTfm article "Testing the UK Pensions Regulator" June 2007


Threat to inflation protection of pensions - Nicholas Timmins, Financial Times, 10/03/2007
Companies could be allowed to remove or reduce inflation protection from defined benefit pensions under radical proposals to cut the cost of company schemes put forward on Friday by a government-appointed review.

More regulation and compensation, more harm than good - Robin Ellison, Financial Times Letters, 02/03/2007
John Kay's column is as perceptive as ever. However, lack of space no doubt precluded an analysis of two underlying causes of the discontent with the UK's workplace pension system.

Where’s the Beef? - Zvi Bodie & Kelli Hueler, PIMCO DC Dialogue, 02/03/2007
We talk about the current movement toward target-date funds in defined contribution plans and their suggestions for a lower-risk investment path.

Wake up this morning to a longer life? - Andrew Clare, Financial Times Letters, 28/02/2007
So if actuaries cannot keep up with longevity trends, what can they do?

No suggestion that actuaries were at fault - Stewart Ritchie & Nick Dumbreck, Financial Times Letters, 27/02/2007
Letter from the two most senior UK actuaries.

Rising shares shrink Footsie pension deficits - Matthew Richards, Financial Times, 24/02/2007
Rising share prices and bond yields have cut pensions deficits at the UK's biggest companies to their lowest level since new accounting standards were introduced in 2002.

No loose change down the back of the sofa for pensions - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 23/02/2007
How to compensate those who have lost their pensions
See FT website (paywall)


Hutton hints at pensions aid rethink - Ben Hall, Financial Times, 23/02/2007
Tens of thousands of people who lost pension benefits when their employers went bust yesterday received a strong hint that they could be in line for more generous compensation after the government promised to re-examine its existing aid scheme for victims.

To heal a political sore (FAS) - The Economist, The Economist, 22/02/2007
But as John Ralfe, a pensions specialist, points out, the bill could fall substantially if the government offered partial compensation along the same lines as the PPF. Such a compromise would heal a long-running political sore.

Public must be warned on living longer, says Institute - Scheherazade Daneshkhu, Financial Times, 30/01/2007
The government must make people aware they will live longer than they think as part of its campaign to tackle the pressure on pensions, according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, writes Scheherazade Daneshkhu.

PPF is in better shape than many pension schemes - Lawrence Churchill & Partha Dasgupta, Financial Times Letters, 25/01/2007
John Ralfe fails to acknowledge a number of important points about the PPF.

Strains of protecting pensions increases - John Ralfe, FTfm, 22/01/2007
The levy charged by the PPF to DB schemes has risen sharply and is likely to continue rising
See FT website (paywall)


Increase in pension protection levy may force schemes to close - Philip Inman, The Guardian, 16/01/2007
Employers face a fourfold increase in PPF contributions

Are cracks starting to show in the PPF? - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum Note 39, 16/01/2007
The Pension Protection Fund has announced that the levy on defined benefit pension schemes is budgeted to raise £675m in 2007/8

Employers face threat of pension levy rise - Norma Cohen and Ben Hall, Financial Times, 11/01/2007
Employers face a sharp rise in levies to the pensions lifeboat if the government loses a European court ruling later this month.

BT bounces back on shareholder payout hopes and bid rumours - Neil Hume and Robert Orr, Financial Times, 21/12/2006
BT Group bounced back yesterday on hopes the telecoms company could return more cash to shareholders in 2007. BT came under pressure earlier this week after revealing it would have to pay £280m a year over the next 10 years to tackle its pension fund deficit.

Still a future for defined-benefit pensions - Lombard (Andrew Hill), Financial Times, 19/12/2006
The Pensions Regulator and the Pension Protection Fund have a fine sense of timing. Publication on Monday of their first annual defined-benefit “the purple book” – came on the same day BT announced steps to tackle its pension deficit, and 12 months, almost to the day, since Rentokil Initial revealed its shock proposal to close its defined benefit scheme to current employees.

BT outlines pension funding plans - Andrew Parker, Financial Times, 18/12/2006
BT is today expected to publish the long-awaited findings of its triennial pension review, which will set out plans for the funding of its retirement scheme.

Pensions watchdog warns on company pull-outs - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 14/12/2006
Pension scheme trustees schemes should use extreme caution when considering proposals to cut the link be-tween the plan and the sponsoring employer, according to proposed guidance to be issued today by the Pensions Regulator.

National pension scheme is 'wishful thinking on a grand scale' - Phillip Inman and Will Woodward, Guardian, 13/12/2006
The government will today reveal its blueprint for a national pension savings scheme to raise the retirement incomes of up to 10 million low-paid workers. See JER RBC Capital Markets Note on the Turner Commission Report January 2005
See FTfm article "Ralfe challenges Turner report" by Pauline Skypala January 2005


Is the National Pensions Saving Scheme just wishful thinking? - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum Note 38, 12/12/2006
The Pensions White Paper takes account of the expected returns from holding equities, but ignores the risk.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note on the Turner Commission Report January 2005
See FTfm article "Ralfe challenges Turner report" by Pauline Skypala January 2005


Role for branded providers in pension plan - Ben Hall and Nicholas Timmins, Financial Times, 12/12/2006
Branded providers of pension products are to be given a role in the planned new system of personal pension savings after all, the government will announce today as it publishes its white paper on a new national scheme.

Public sector urged to overhaul pensions - Andrew Taylor, Financial Times, 11/12/2006
Business leaders have called for a radical overhaul of public sector pay and pension arrangements to reduce the growing burden on taxpayers.

Polestar pension deal clears decks for owners - Mark Kleinman, Daily Telegraph, 08/12/2006
Polestar, the magazine printer once owned by disgraced tycoon Robert Maxwell, has off-loaded a £150m pension fund deficit. The financial engineering - part of a wider restructuring of the troubled group - is likely to spark a debate about businesses' obligations to their pensioners and the leverage used by private-equity owners.
See JER FTfm article "Regulating the Pensions Regulator" May 2011


Pensions need £175bn for longevity risk - Chris Hughes and Joanna Chung, Financial Times, 01/12/2006
Increased longevity means the liabilities of the UK's corporate pension schemes are understated by some £175bn, according to research conducted by Paternoster, the recently launched pension insurance company.
See JER FTfm article "More foresight is needed on longevity" December 2006


German pension age to be raised - Hugh Williamson, Financial Times, 30/11/2006
Younger Germans face the prospect of two extra years at work before drawing their pensions, following a cabinet decision expected last night that was set to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67.

Headache or opportunity? - Norma Cohen, FTfm, 29/11/2006
A group of corporate finance directors addressing a recent conference on pensions made a collective, refreshingly frank but startling admission; until accounting rules took effect five years ago they had no idea their retirement schemes needed attention.

More foresight is needed on longevity - John Ralfe, FTfm, 27/11/2006
The scale of longevity risk for BT and other large pension schemes such as BA is breathtaking
See FT website (paywall)


Man launches 'deficit buster' - Steve Johnson, Financial Times, 27/11/2006
Man Group, the London-based hedge fund operator, is launching a product that it claims will allow pension schemes to chase the holy grail of strong investment returns with zero downside risk.

Undercover Economist: Patience, patience - Tim Harford, Financial Times, 25/11/2006
These insights can be used to help people make better decisions. For example, the economist Richard Thaler has proposed a plan called “Save More Tomorrow”, in which employees make commitments to contribute to their pensions not now, but later.

Pauline Skypala: No consensus yet on pension strategy - Pauline Skypala, FTfm, 13/11/2006
Surveys show UK pension funds expect to increase their weightings in bonds and alternative assets at the expense of quoted equities. But whether they will allocate a meaningful amount or fiddle about with 4-5 per cent of their assets is open to question.

Pension alarms ringing over foreign-based parent companies - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 11/11/2006
Alarm bells are ringing over the difficulties in pursuing pensions claims against foreign parents of UK-based companies, after the bankruptcy of the Bermuda-based Sea Containers conglomerate.

Longer lives pose £3bn threat to BT pension fund - Patrick Hosking, The Times, 08/11/2006
BT Group may have to inject more into its pension fund after one independent expert suggested soaring life expectancy may add £3 billion to its liabilities.
See JER FTfm article "More foresight is needed on longevity" December 2006


BT caught up in row over using the wrong numbers - Russell Hotten, The Daily Telegraph, 08/11/2006
While shareholders have focused on investment risk, they have ignored the way companies assess longevity risk.
See JER FTfm article "More foresight is needed on longevity" December 2006


BT pension fund - Philip Inman, The Guardian, 08/11/2006
Life expectancy has become a key issue for pension funds, which under existing accounting rules can rely on their own measure.
See JER FTfm article "More foresight is needed on longevity" December 2006


BT pension deficit - Michael Harrison, The Independent, 08/11/2006
The assumptions of life expectancy used by Royal Mail were the same as the benchmark recommended by the PPF.
See JER FTfm article "More foresight is needed on longevity" December 2006


Consultant warns on longevity risk to BT pensions - Tom Burroughes, Reuters, 08/11/2006
Even small changes in longevity assumptions can dramatically affect liability costs.
See JER FTfm article "More foresight is needed on longevity" December 2006


Pensions fund faces £1bn in potential claims - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 08/11/2006
The Pension Protection Fund, the new insurance kitty that covers the pension shortfalls of insolvent emp-loyers, is facing nearly £1bn in probable and possible claims in its first full year of operations, the scheme said in its first annual report.

BT Group - How important is longevity risk? - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum Note 37, 08/11/2006
BT Group is one of the FTSE100 companies providing its longevity assumptions for the first time this year.
See JER FTfm article "More foresight is needed on longevity" December 2006


Not only bonds but also backstops - Barry Riley, FTfm, 06/11/2006
Whatever else you can say about pensions, they are not dull. Seats ran out at Staple Inn Hall in London last week for a debate by members of the Institute of Actuaries on sponsor covenants. And over the weekend short-changed pensioners have been marching on Downing Street.

Priorities of new pension specialists - Mark Wood, Financial Times Letters, 27/10/2006
Tony Jackson's preoccupation with derivatives as the means by which the new entrants to the pensions market will make a return is misguided.

Inheritors of pension schemes ponder their options - Tony Jackson, Financial Times, 23/10/2006
As they are finally closed to new and existing members, they will be passed to an insurance company or the like.

Trustees in talks to safeguard Corus pensions - Patrick Hosking, The Times, 21/10/2006
The pension funds of 170,000 past and present Corus workers are negotiating to prevent retirement benefits being put in jeopardy by the Tata deal. See JER RBC note "Tata Steel’s recommended offer for Corus" October 2006

How Corus bid put pension trustees on the spot - Lombard (Andew Hill), Financial Times, 21/10/2006
This was the toughest bit of Tata's deal Slightly more than 47,000 people work for Corus, but that number is dwarfed by those who depend on the British Steel Pension Scheme, one of the UK's 10 largest.
See JER RBC note "Tata Steel’s recommended offer for Corus" October 2006


Pension scheme trustees look to secure - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 20/10/2006
Trustees of Corus’s pension scheme have held talks with Tata Steel about measures it will take to secure retirement benefits for the 167,000 members.
See JER RBC note "Tata Steel’s recommended offer for Corus" October 2006


Tata Steel’s recommended offer for Corus - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum Note, 20/10/2006
Tata Steel Ltd, part of the Indian-based conglomerate, has made a £4.3bn recommended offer for the Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus Group, which would create the world’s fifth largest steel group.

Pension watchdog to test Labour fund - Tom Burroughes, Reuters, 25/09/2006
Labour, which has put pension reform high on its agenda, has a significant pension fund deficit and will be among the first funds to be tested by regulators.
See JER RBC note "Will the Labour Party pension scheme be the first test case for the Pensions Regulator?" September 2006


Longevity forecasts in pensions 'too low' - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 25/09/2006
UK companies may be seriously understating the size of their pension obligations because they are making unrealistic forecasts of the life expectancy of their former workers, David Norgrove, the Pensions Regulator, is to warn today.

Retirement scheme is Labour's biggest creditor - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 25/09/2006
The Labour party's pension scheme has emerged as its biggest single creditor amid mounting fiscal woes, raising questions about whether it is able to meet regulatory guidelines on funding its retirement benefits.
See JER RBC note "Will the Labour Party pension scheme be the first test case for the Pensions Regulator?" September 2006


Labour's finances - John Plender, Financial Times, 25/09/2006
According to pensions consultant John Ralfe, in a note for RBC Capital Markets, the Labour party pension scheme could become a test case for The Pensions Regulator in the light of its new guidelines on funding deficits.
See JER RBC note "Will the Labour Party pension scheme be the first test case for the Pensions Regulator?" September 2006


Will the Labour Party pension scheme be the first test case for the Pensions Regulator? - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum Note 35, 25/09/2006
The Labour Party Superannuation Society, for the Party’s 300 employees, is finalising its December 2005 valuation and is therefore one of the first pension schemes subject to the Regulator's new guidelines.

Valuing and Hedging Defined Benefit Pension Obligations The Role of Stocks Revisited - Deborah Lucas & Stephen P. Zeldes, University of York, Canada, 13/09/2006
DB pension plans have attracted significant attention recently.

Asset-Liability Matching & Federal Deposit and Pension Insurance - Zvi Bodie, Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis Review, 31/08/2006
Examination of the risks faced by the US PBGC

Testing times for those fearing ineligibility - Pauline Skypala, FTfm, 07/08/2006
The 31,000 members of the £1.2bn ($2.25bn, €1.76bn) Kvaerner pension fund have had an anxious few weeks as doubts have been raised in the press about the security of their benefits following a deal on the fund's future.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "The Pensions Regulator & Kvaerner (Trafalgar House)" July 2006


Kvaerner pension deal under threat from bondholders - David Prosser, The Independent, 05/08/2006
Members of the Kvaerner pension scheme reacted with horror as it emerged that a deal to save their pensions has still not been finalised, almost four months after it was first announced.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "The Pensions Regulator & Kvaerner (Trafalgar House)" July 2006


Pensions struggling to stand still - Philip Coggan, Financial Times, 05/08/2006
“Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run twice as fast as that.”

Bondholders pose threat to Kvaerner deal on fund - Russell Hotten, Daily Telegraph, 04/08/2006
A controversial agreement to save the Kvaerner pension fund is not the done deal that many people thought and could yet run into serious problems.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "The Pensions Regulator & Kvaerner (Trafalgar House)" July 2006


TH Global pension deal faces bond threat - expert - Tom Burroughes, Reuters, 03/08/2006
A deal by TH Global to sever its links with its 32,000-member pension fund could be derailed if bond-holders refuse to take a loss on their debt and force the business into insolvency
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "The Pensions Regulator & Kvaerner (Trafalgar House)" July 2006


Crisis? What crisis? - Lombard (Andew Hill), Financial Times, 02/08/2006
While it is fashionable to bemoan the exorbitant costs that saddle corporate sponsors of final salary schemes, a more contrarian view - or at least a more sober one - may be in order.

Pension funds play for high stakes - Barry Riley, FTfm, 17/07/2006
Should pension scheme members accept reduced, but secure, benefits or go along with the attempts to chase a rainbow?
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "The Pensions Regulator & Kvaerner (Trafalgar House)" July 2006


Pension funds play for high stakes - Barry Riley, FTfm, 17/07/2006
“Funds such as Kvaerner are tempted to go for high return investments, even though there are doubts about alternative asset sectors”

Turner & Newall and the PPF - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum Note 33, 12/07/2006
T&N’s Administrators have given Notice to enter into a form of insolvency proceedingsm which (finally) triggers T&N Pension Scheme entering the PPF assessment period.

Kvaerner Pension Fund - Bob Howard, BBC Radio 4 Money Box broacast, 08/07/2006
"It looks as though the Pensions Regulator has let Kvaerner plc off the hook".
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "The Pensions Regulator & Kvaerner (Trafalgar House)" July 2006


Pension watchdog’s secrecy challenged - Tom Burroughes, Reuters, 06/07/2006
The UK Pension Regulator must open up to public scrutiny.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "The Pensions Regulator & Kvaerner (Trafalgar House)" July 2006


Pension guru considers Kvaerner Fund’s prop-up deal too risky - Russell Hotten, Daily Telegraph, 06/07/2006
The Kvaerner Pension Fund will have around 27pc of its assets in hedge funds and private equity, a far higher proportion than most other schemes.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "The Pensions Regulator & Kvaerner (Trafalgar House)" July 2006


Kvaerner pension deal criticised - James Daley, The Independent, 06/07/2006
"The PPF should not have to underwrite risky investment bets by a scheme with no proper sponsor."
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "The Pensions Regulator & Kvaerner (Trafalgar House)" July 2006


Pensions regulator defends silence over deal - Phillip Inman, Guardian, 06/07/2006
The pensions regulator has refused to reveal details of a ground-breaking deal to safeguard the retirement incomes of 31,000 former shipping and engineering workers because staff faced two years in jail if confidential information leaked out.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "The Pensions Regulator & Kvaerner (Trafalgar House)" July 2006


The Pensions Regulator & Kvaerner (Trafalgar House) - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum Note 32, 06/07/2006
TH Global plc (formerly Kvaerner plc) and its pension scheme have announced a deal, which has received clearance from the Pensions Regulator, under which, TH Global’s obligations as sponsoring employer cease.

Beware the false prophets - Tony Jackson, Financial Times, 04/07/2006
According to the official version, pension funds in the past five years have stumbled from a world of error into the light of truth. Gone is the medieval notion that funds’ assets should consist of equities. Bonds are now the thing.

WH Smith to split its pension scheme - Eoin Callan and Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 28/06/2006
WH Smith is to become the first UK company to split its pension scheme under new powers granted by the government, setting a precedent for other companies.

"Employers need incentive to offer risk-sharing pensions" - Adrian Waddingham, Financial Times Letters, 22/06/2006
Your editorial ("The need to protect past pension promises", June 13) and letters (John Ralfe, June 19, and Simon Fraser, June 20) warn against amending company pensions retrospectively.

“NAPF is, unfortunately, lobbying for powers that companies aready have” - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 19/06/2006
Comment on NAPF's lobbying to allow changes to past pension benefits
See FT website (paywall)


BAE Systems takes a gamble that others may use as the way forward - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 15/06/2006
When BAE Systems unrolled a comprehensive programme to attack its £3.1bn actuarial deficit this week, it demonstrated at a stroke that even the largest pension deficits can be tackled - over time.

Industry unites to warn on spiralling cost of company pensions - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 10/06/2006
By the time the chief executive of the National Association of Pension Funds stood up to address the troops on the second day of the trade association's annual conference yesterday, the mood was already clear.

Call to allow cuts in pension benefits - Norma Cohen and Nicholas Timmins, Financial Times, 09/06/2006
Employers should be allowed to roll back some pension benefits promised to their staff because the costs have become too burdensome for the economy as a whole, Christine Farnish, chief executive of the National Association of Pension Funds, will say today.
See JER FT Letter “NAPF is, unfortunately, lobbying for powers that companies aready have" June 2006


What USS advisers should have been telling the trustees - Ron Johnston and Andrew Smithers, Financial Times Letters, 02/06/2006
John Plender's article "Failing grade?" (May 30) quotes John Ralfe as saying, quite correctly, that taking credit in advance for the outperformance of equities, while ignoring the risk, is a flawed though widely used methodology.

Sir Humphrey’s Legacy - Neil Record, Institute of Economic Affairs, 02/06/2006
Facing Up to the Cost of Public Sector Pensions

Universities are not in an a - Edwin Topper, Financial Times Letters, 01/06/2006
John Plender's article on the deficit in USS makes a number of inaccurate statements and reaches conclusions that cannot go unchallenged.
See JER RBC Capital Market Note "Spotlight on USS" May 2006
See JER FTfm article "Robbing Peter to pay Paul’s pension"


Big pension fund too equity-heavy - Tom Burroughes, Reuters, 30/05/2006
USS, the country's second-biggest pension plan, has a major deficit and is more exposed to stocks than many rival funds, a leading consultant said.
See JER RBC Capital Market Note "Spotlight on USS" May 2006
See JER FTfm article "Robbing Peter to pay Paul’s pension"


Failing grade? - John Plender, Financial Times, 30/05/2006
Facing a £6.6bn black hole in its superannuation scheme, academe is in a financial fog about the real cost of providing for lecturers’ old age
See JER RBC Capital Market Note "Spotlight on USS" May 2006
See JER FTfm article "Robbing Peter to pay Paul’s pension"


Failing grade? How a pension fund punt could undermine UK universities - John Plender, Financial Times, 30/05/2006
“Facing a £6.6bn black hole in its superannuation scheme, academe is in a financial fog about the real cost of providing for lecturers’ old age”

Spotlight on USS - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum Note 31, 29/05/2006
USS for academics and senior staff within the “old universities”, is the UK’s second largest pension scheme, after BT, with assets of almost £22bn and 215,000 Members. It has just published its March 2005 Actuarial Valuation, setting out its funding position and annual contribution rate.

‘Fantastic’ deal offers hope for Royal Mail - John Willman, Financial Times, 19/05/2006
The long-awaited “financing framework” for Royal Mail was finally announced by the government on Thursday, but if anyone was expecting to see billions of pounds pumped into the postal operator they will have been severely disappointed.

The timebomb ticking in your own workforce - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 19/05/2006
Every story about a company struggling for survival must include a look at its pension fund. In many cases companies are discovering that their own promises made long ago to their own workers are now threatening the existence of the company.

The pensioners’ champion (Ros Altmann) - Ben Hall & Sharlene Goff, Financial Times, 18/05/2006
Ms Altmann is often billed as an adviser on pensions to Downing Street, a misperception she does little to correct. In reality, Whitehall insiders say she simply did some consultancy work for Derek Scott, the prime minister’s former economics adviser who notoriously wielded little influence in the corridors of power. A Labour figure who knows her well said Ms Altmann tended to “slightly over-egg her affiliations”.

Raising trustee standards long overdue - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 01/05/2006
With the ink barely dry on the UK Pension Regulator's Medium Term Strategy plan, the knives are out.

Proposed amendments to FRS17 - Accounting Standards Board, ASB website, 01/05/2006

A dangerous pensions precedent - Liam Halligan, Sunday Telegraph, 30/04/2006
The Pensions Regulator was one year old last Friday. The Government's fledgling pension watchdog marked the occasion by announcing up to 300 final salary schemes are at risk of collapse.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "The Pensions Regulator & Kvaerner (Trafalgar House)" July 2006


Pensions analysts call for longevity disclosure - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 27/04/2006
Calculations of pension liabilities can vary by as much as 20 per cent depending on how long companies expect scheme members to live, according to a new study.

Government fault on BT pension line - Lombard (Andew Hill), Financial Times, 25/04/2006
Perhaps they were distracted by the coal miners’ strike, or maybe it was just Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax” blaring on the radio, but whoever was up late drafting the 1984 Telecommunications Act has a lot to answer for.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Spotlight on BT Group" April 2006


BT says state is liable for £28bn of pension fund - Lucy Killgren & Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 25/04/2006
BT on Monday said its pensions scheme actuary estimated that about three quarters of its £38bn pension fund liabilities were guaranteed by the government.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Spotlight on BT Group" April 2006


BT faces concerns over scheme’s deficit - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 24/04/2006
BT's pension scheme has been running a deficit since at least 1997 and has remained in deficit since then, even through the peak years of the stock market boom.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Spotlight on BT Group" April 2006


’BT pension guarantee £12bn’ - Christine Seib, The Times, 24/04/2006
The pensions guarantee at the centre of a wrangle between BT, the telecoms giant, and the Government is worth as much as £12 billion, according to new research.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Spotlight on BT Group" April 2006


BT to clear air over deficit chaos - Russell Hotten, The Daily Telegraph, 24/04/2006
News that more than half of BT's deficit may have a Crown guarantee has surprised many shareholders and pensions experts.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Spotlight on BT Group" April 2006


’Government liable for £3bn of BT pension gap’ - Saeed Shah, The Independent, 24/04/2006
A spokesman for BT said: "It's no secret that BT has a Crown guarantee for part of the pensions liabilities of its defined benefit scheme"
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Spotlight on BT Group" April 2006


BT may face hefty bill from pension regulator - Philip Inman, The Guardian, 24/04/2006
BT could be forced to pay a hefty bill to the pensions regulator despite a "crown guarantee" dating back to privatisation.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Spotlight on BT Group" April 2006


BT pensions - Tom Burroughes, Reuters, 24/04/2006
The cost of buying annuities for BT pension members -- known as the buyout cost -- is around 46 billion pounds
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Spotlight on BT Group" April 2006


Spotlight on BT Group - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum Note 29, 24/04/2006
BT Group has confirmed that the Government guaranteed the pension rights of members of the BT Pension Scheme, when the Company was privatised in 1984, although the full extent of the guarantee remains unclear.

Unions warn BBC on pensions shake-up - Ben Hall, Financial Times, 22/04/2006
The BBC has unveiled plans to close its final salary pension scheme to new members and raise the normal pension age from 60 to 65, prompting warnings of industrial action from the broadcasting unions.

Pensions crisis 'overstated' - Matthew Richards, Financial Times, 21/04/2006
Jan Luthman, who manages the Walker Crips UK Growth fund together with Stephen Bailey, is hoping to maintain his portfolio's impressive performance by betting that things are not as bad with pension deficits as they might seem.

Pension guarantees - Lex, Financial Times, 19/04/2006
BT has just claimed that a significant part of its £38bn of IAS19 gross pension liabilities are, in extremis, government backed. BT says this was “no secret” but it has never appeared in any prospectus or annual report.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Spotlight on BT Group" April 2006


Instructive Invensys - Lombard (Alison Smith), Financial Times, 30/03/2006
Doom-mongers who two years ago foretold the collapse of companies under the weight of their legacy pension burdens may need to get ready for some humble pie

Backlash over new (US) pensions legislation - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 24/03/2006
Employers will be able to slash their contributions to underfunded pension schemes by tens of billions of dollars over the next five years under proposed legislation before Congress that was expected to have the opposite effect.

Pensions / BA - Lex, Financial Times, 24/03/2006
British Airways’ landmark pension proposal yesterday suggests that the UK’s new Pensions Regulator is beginning to bite. In essence, it indicates that pension fund trustees will demand schemes are funded in cash on a “marked to market” FRS17/IAS19 basis.

Indigestible BT - John Plender, Financial Times, 20/03/2006
A private equity consortium bid for BT Group, currently rumoured, would have the pensions regulator jumping for joy. Outside estimates of BT's pension fund deficit under international accounting standards top £5bn, against a market capitalisation of about £20bn.

Major changes raise concerns on (US) Pension Bill - Mary Williams Walsh, New York Times, 19/03/2006
With a strong directive from the Bush administration, Congress set out more than a year ago to fashion legislation to protect America's private pension system.

Companies must not be let off the pensions hook - Lombard (Norma Cohen), Financial Times, 18/03/2006
If I take a mortgage on my house today and interest rates shoot up to 14 per cent, should I be allowed to walk away from that loan or even a part of it, without forfeiting my home?

Sticky mess doesn't promise jam tomorrow - Philip Coggan, Financial Times, 18/03/2006
Final salary pension schemes are gradually dying. The first step was to close existing schemes to new members. The second step is to push employees into increasing contributions or face a downgrade in benefits.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "J Sainsbury’s staged pension retreat?" March 2006


Through the Looking Glass : Adventures in Pension Land - Bradley D.Belt (Executive Director of the PBGC), PBGC website, 13/03/2006
With more than $2 trillion in obligations, defined benefit pension plans represent one of the largest off-balance-sheet liabilities underwritten by corporate America.

Sainsbury’s pension shock - Lisa Buckingham, Mail on Sunday, 12/03/2006
Sainsbury's staff could see their expected pensions slashed by more than half if they opt for a "cash balance" scheme, according to independent experts. See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "J Sainsbury’s staged pension retreat?" March 2006

J Sainsbury’s staged pension retreat? - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum 26, 10/03/2006
J Sainsbury plc has announced a £2bn debt refinancing secured on a pool of supermarkets - £1.7bn will be used to buy back unsecured bonds and £350m will be injected into Sainsbury’s £3.9bn pension schemes.

Sainsbury accused as union seeks talks on pension change - Christine Seib, The Times, 08/03/2006
John Ralfe, the pensions consultant, said that Sainsbury's was "passing the scheme off as something it clearly isn't".
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "J Sainsbury’s staged pension retreat?" March 2006


Sainsbury brings risk with balance scheme - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 08/03/2006
Sainsbury's employees unwilling to make a significant increase in contributions to the defined benefit pension scheme will be placed in a riskier "cash balance" scheme
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "J Sainsbury’s staged pension retreat?" March 2006


Sainsbury's scheme - Lombard (Alison Smith), Financial Times, 08/03/2006
If most of Sainsbury's members decide not to increase contributions, then the move will go a long way towards closing the current defined benefit schemes.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "J Sainsbury’s staged pension retreat?" March 2006


Treasury's estimate of unfunded pension liabilities rises by £70bn - Chris Giles, Financial Times, 03/03/2006
The Treasury raised by £70bn its estimate for the liabilities of unfunded pensions for doctors, nurses, teachers and police yesterday. Figures from the Government Actuary's Department showed £530bn would have to be found to fund the public service pension schemes fully, compared with the previous £460bn estimate.

Clergy benefits might be sacrificed - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 02/03/2006
The Church of England warned yesterday it would have to cut retirement benefits unless parishioners provide up to £36m extra a year for its clergy's pensions.
See JER FTfm article "The Church's reckless investment gamble" February 2010
See Sunday Times article May 2012


More pensions mis-selling ahead - Terry Arthur, Governance, 02/03/2006
Terry Arthur explains why he thinks the UK Government is on the verge of promoting an enormous mis-selling catastrophe in the shape of the National Pensions Saving Scheme (NPSS)

Bad news for actuaries but maybe not for everyone else - David McCarthy, Financial Times Letters, 27/02/2006
Defined contribution pensions are more economically efficient than defined benefit schemes for most workers.
See FT website (paywall)


Benefit, or otherwise, of funded pension system - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 16/02/2006
Is a funded system better than straightforward PAYG, with the working generation taxed to pay for the pensions of the retired generation?
See FT website (paywall)
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note on the Turner Commission Report January 2005
See FTfm article "Ralfe challenges Turner report" by Pauline Skypala January 2005


Do a Firm’s Equity Returns Reflect the Risk of Its Pension Plan? - Li Jin, Robert Robert C. Merton and Zvi Bodie, Journal of Financial Economics, 13/02/2006
This paper examines the empirical question of whether systematic equity risk of US firms as measured by beta from the capital asset pricing model reflects the risk of their pension plans.

Turner attacks critics for "thoroughly bad arguments" - Nicholas Timmins, Financial Times, 10/02/2006
Lord Turner has attacked the "thoroughly bad" arguments being put up against his proposal for a national pensions savings scheme. The criticism of the plans set out by his Pensions Commission last year were "red herrings" that "confuse rather than clarify the choices before us", he said.
See JER note on the Turner Commission Report January 2005
See FTfm article "Ralfe challenges Turner report" by Pauline Skypala January 2005


But ABI plans are short on numbers - Lombard (Alison Smith), Financial Times, 10/02/2006
"Partnership Pensions" would combine low charges with portability, and a new Retirement Income Commission would promote savings. In terms of presentation, the plan yesterday from the Association of British Insurers can barely be faulted.

KPMG loses plea over £88m pensions deficit - Nikki Tait, Financial Times, 08/02/2006
Partners of KPMG will have to make good an estimated £88m deficit in the accountancy firm's occupational pension scheme after the House of Lords refused yesterday to hear a further legal appeal by the firm over the plan's status.

CBI says pensions fix could force company closures - Nicholas Timmins, Financial Times, 06/02/2006
Proposed new rules and guidance on how quickly companies should shed their pension fund deficits could put one in five UK companies out of business, the CBI employers’ organisation warned on Sunday.

The Myth of Time Diversification: - Jack Duval, PIABA Bar Journal, 02/02/2006
This article will show that time does not reduce risk

New York City Story - Nicholas Dunbar, Life and Pensions, 01/02/2006
The man responsible for NYC's pensions wants to move to market-based valuation

Experts call for full pensions disclosure - Norma Cohen and Barney Jopson, Financial Times, 01/02/2006
Companies are effectively masking the scale of their pensions liabilities by failing to reveal crucial assumptions such as how long they expect their staff to live, City analysts warn today.

How savers can protect themselves from slumps in annuity rates - David Cule, Financial Times Letters, 30/01/2006
Retirement savers may protect themselves from slumps in annuity rates - by buying the annuities at the time they make their pension savings.

Much drama over pension deficits crisis - Norma Cohen, FTfm, 30/01/2006
Far from destructive, the plunge in gilt yields is good news.

Actuaries and the pensions crunch : when the spinning stops - The Economist, The Economist, 26/01/2006
One landmark was the decision in 2000-01 by Boots, a retailer, to switch all of its £2.3 billion of assets into a portfolio of long-dated cashflow-matching bonds and to make a linked share buyback that benefited shareholders.

Holes spotted in the pension safety net - John Ralfe, FTfm, 23/01/2006
If the Pension Protection Fund does not make an economic charge for the risk it is running, sooner or later it will fail

A switch to bonds is no cure-all for pension funds - Ros Altmann, Financial Times Letters, 21/01/2006
The recent lemming-like rush of pension funds into long bonds is an attempt by trustees to "reduce risk" but is extremely worrying.

Investors harbour growing misgivings over gilts bubble - Joanna Chung & Stephen Fidler , Financial Times, 21/01/2006
To get a sense of how unusual this week's events in Britain's government bond market are, it is worth taking a look at War Loan.

BA pension deficit stands at £2bn - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 19/01/2006
British Airways' pension deficit, as measured by its actuaries, has roughly doubled to about £2bn since the last valuation in March 2003. If the company were to close its schemes and wind them up, it would crystallise a debt of £3bn to £4bn, compared with BA's market capitalisation yesterday of £3.6bn.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Spotlight on British Airways" November 2005


Time for the truth about public pension deficits - Orin Kramer, Financial Times, 13/01/2006
Using real-world economic assumptions instead of actuarial fictions, the total (US) public fund shortfall over the next decade appears likely to be at least $700bn-$1,000bn.

BA's high-flying benefits brought down to earth - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 13/01/2006
In league tables of the nation's most troubled pension schemes, that of British Airways bears the dubious distinction of coming at, or near, the top.

Pensions £150bn black hole may not be so deep - Prof Wynne Godley, Financial Times Letters, 11/01/2006
The prospect of a pensions deficit equal to £150bn is spread across the front page of the FT and has the character of a forecast that an extra-large meteorite will strike the earth in 2030.

Greying Japan - , The Economist, 07/01/2006
But ageing employees need not be a problem, if companies adjust

Pension concerns are broadening and deepening - Lombard (Andew Hill), Financial Times, 07/01/2006
Only the foolhardy would have predicted a year ago that corporate pension provision would dominate the Daily Mail's front page twice within a fortnight. Yet there it was again on Thursday, alongside Kate Moss. It's official: the pensions "black hole" is the new house price crash.

I.B.M. to Freeze Pension Plans to Trim Costs - Mary Williams Walsh, New York Times, 06/01/2006
I.B.M. will freeze pension benefits for its American employees starting in 2008 and offer them only a 401(k) retirement plan in the future.

A pension plan not lightly to be followed - Editorial, Financial Times, 21/12/2005
It does not make sense for companies to guarantee long into the future the pensions of employees at a time when life expectancy is sharply rising

Rentokil's action leaves employers pondering pensions minefield - Norma Cohen and Salamander Davoudi, Financial Times, 20/12/2005
With company pension schemes running deficits as high as £80bn by some estimates in recent years, it is no wonder companies are desperately seeking ways to cut costs.

Reducing risk key to solving UK pension shortfalls - Lawrence Churchill, Financial Times, 19/12/2005
The PPF was created to provide affordable and sustainable protection for scheme members against the personal tragedy of destitution in old age caused by the failure of their employer's pension promise.
See JER FTFm article "Holes spotted in the pension safety net" January 2006


Pensions lifeboat could sink weak firms - Patience Wheatcroft, The Times, 17/12/2005
John Ralfe argues that just taking the 30 schemes already in assessment and Turner & Newall, the PPF's losses are already somewhere between £600 million and £700 million.

The builder's quote that just got a lot larger - Lombard (Martin Dickson), Financial Times, 17/12/2005
The edifice is the Pensions Protection Fund, designed to compensate pension scheme members at companies that go belly up with insufficient funds to meet the promises to their workers.

Murder from a regulatory excess - Jonathan Guthrie, Financial Times, 13/12/2005
A distinguished group met yesterday in the office of Chief Inspector Japp at Scotland Yard. A short, dapper man with a waxed moustache addressed them thus:

A muddle in the middle - Philip Coggan, Financial Times, 03/12/2005
State pension schemes face some very basic dilemmas, which are universal. Set the pension payment too low and the result is widespread poverty. Set it too high and the cost is too great.

How policymakers divide and rule on pensions - John Plender, Financial Times, 28/11/2005
The row over the Pensions Commission report, in which Gordon Brown, the chancellor, appears to have pulled the rug from under the commission's chairman, Lord Turner, is a classic illustration of the pensions policymaking bind.

Rescuing your retirement - Elaine Chao, John Snow & Carlos Gutierrez, New York Times, 21/11/2005
Comment on PBGC reforms from the US Secretaries of Labor, Treasury & Commerce.

US pension accounting shift 'would hit equities' - Deborah Brewster, Financial Times, 21/11/2005
Proposed changes to pension fund accounting in the US are likely to prompt a shift of investment away from equities and into bonds while speeding the demise of defined-benefit plans, according to investment experts.

UK discovers the pluses and minuses of transparency - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 21/11/2005
As the US moves gingerly towards introducing greater transparency – some would say reality – in pension accounting, a glance across the Atlantic gives a clear idea of the pitfalls and benefits that may be in store.

Talk of a pensions crisis is overblown - Martin Wolf, Financial Times Comment and analysis, 18/11/2005
Crisis? What crisis? But recent evidence casts significant doubt on the view that Britain suffers from a chronic deficiency of saving.

Minister rules out aid to Royal Mail to clear £4bn pensions deficit - Jean Eaglesham, Financial Times, 16/11/2005
Any "bail-out" of Royal Mail's £4bn pension fund deficit by taxpayers was yesterday ruled out by the government in the first clear statement of its plans for the state-owned postal operator in the run-up to full market competition next year.
See Robert Peston blog "Royal Mail and HMG's creative accounting" May 2009


Pension funds step up move to UK bonds - Stephen Fidler, Financial Times, 09/11/2005
There’s something afoot at the long end of the British government bond market. The government now pays a lower interest rate to borrow over 30 or 50 years than it does to borrow over five.

Pension deficit could clip BA's wings - Patience Wheatcroft, The Times, 05/11/2005
Mr Ralfe suggests that BA will be paying the largest levy of any company into the new Pension Protection Fund next year.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Spotlight on British Airways" November 2005


BA boss vows to tackle £1.4billion pension hole - Alistair Osborne, Daily Telegraph, 05/11/2005
"Although BA's pension contributions have doubled from 2003 to 2005, they were not sufficient to make any dent in the underlying deficit. Like it or not, only a big increase in company contributions will shift the underlying deficit."
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Spotlight on British Airways" November 2005


BA's baggage - Lombard (Martin Dickson), Financial Times (scroll down page), 05/11/2005
They are the trustees of Britain’s defined benefit corporate pension schemes, most of which have large deficits of assets relative to their pensions promises.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Spotlight on British Airways" November 2005


BA seen under new pressure to fill pension gap - Tom Burroughes, Reuters, 03/11/2005
BA is likely to face mounting pressure from a new regulator to plug a yawning pension fund deficit.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Spotlight on British Airways" November 2005


Spotlight on British Airways - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum Note 21, 03/11/2005
BA is at the top of the UK “pension watch list” - March 2005 FRS17 liabilities of £12.6bn and a £2bn pre-tax deficit, versus a market cap of £3.5bn and a senior unsecured credit rating of BB-.

Splash of cold water for pensions ostriches - Martin Dickson, Financial Times, 01/11/2005
A salutary bucket of cold water was on Monday thrown over any British company that had yet to wake up and accept that its pension fund obligations were debt-like.

The End of Pensions - Roger Lowenstein, New York Times Magazine, 30/10/2005
The latest, if long-simmering, financial debacle. It is not hedge funds or the real-estate bubble - it is the pension system, both public and private. And it is broken.

Marconi's fall from grace hints at pensions 'iceberg' - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 29/10/2005
However, Marconi's pension scheme members should have greeted the news of the sale of the company's core business to Ericsson with a cheer.

Investment Practice - Full Circle? - Alastair Ross Goobey, Pensions Institute Lecture, 27/10/2005
Why company pension schemes should hold equities

PPF's allocation model - Lombard (Martin Dickson), Financial Times, 25/10/2005
The more one learns about the operations of the Pensions Protection Fund, the more the potential dangers seem to emerge.

Warning on risk of bailout at US pension insurer - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 21/10/2005
The US is heading towards another bailout of a government-backed insurer similar to that of the savings and loan crisis in the 1980s, this time involving the insurance scheme for occupational pensions, a prominent economist warned yesterday.

Time to retire funding valuations UK pensions - Lex, Financial Times, 20/10/2005
"Constructive ambiguity" occurs when negotiations fail. All parties agree to a set of words, without agreeing what the words mean. It is also the principle governing UK corporate pension schemes.

Nobody's perfect - in love or in accounting - Lombard (Martin Dickson), Financial Times, 19/10/2005
So we should welcome news that the Accounting Standards Board is planning to review FRS 17, the mark-to-market UK standard for retirement benefits, even though it only became mandatory for accounting periods after the start of this year.

UK backs down over public sector pensions - Nicholas Timmins, Financial Times, 19/10/2005
The UK government has backed down in the face of a threat by public sector unions to call a major strike over raising the retirement age to 65 and reforming pensions.

Deficits prompt companies to reduce their dividends - Chris Giles, Financial Times, 15/10/2005
Companies have responded to the financial pressures brought about by pensions deficits by cutting their dividends rather than reducing investment, a new working paper from the Bank of England has found.

Pensions lightning at WH Smith - Lombard (Martin Dickson), Financial Times, 14/10/2005
For the second time in two years the actions of the WH Smith pension fund have illuminated the relationship between a fund with a deficit and its sponsoring company in a way that makes it a subject not just for aficionados.

Corporate America's legacy costs. Now for the reckoning - The Economist, The Economist, 13/10/2005
Retirement benefits promised to employees are becoming a crippling burden for a growing number of firms, especially in America

Financing pensions: Hidden treasure - The Economist, The Economist, 06/10/2005
As the conference season ends, pledges and rhetoric will give way to decisions and action. High on the political agenda is pension reform.

The Pensions Covenant - Jim MacLachlan, S&P, 02/10/2005
In this newsletter we review changes in credit trends at the company and sector level, regulatory issues and emerging relevant credit matters.

Increasing longevity fuels pension fears - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 30/09/2005
A British man born in 1950 will live, on average, to just two months short of his 90th birthday, with far-reaching implications for pensions and the definition of old age, according to data released yesterday.

Turner & Newall and the PPF - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum Note 20, 29/09/2005
T&N’s Administrators have announced a major step towards unravelling the complexities of the T&N situation, especially the Pension Scheme, which has 37,000 Members, and a buy-out deficit of £875m.

T&N administrator helps UK creditors - Lombard (Martin Dickson), Financial Times, 28/09/2005
Playing poker with Carl Icahn, the legendary US corporate raider, is not for the faint-hearted, particularly when the game is as complex as the restructuring of Turner & Newall, the vehicle parts company, and its US parent, Federal-Mogul.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Turner & Newall and the PPF" September 2005


T&N pension scheme members step closer to deal - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 28/09/2005
The 40,000 or so members of the T&N pension scheme have come one step closer to retirement security with an agreement in principle that paves the way for their pensions to fall into the new safety net that was created only a few months ago.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Turner & Newall and the PPF" September 2005


Beware any pension fund offering a government guarantee - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 26/09/2005
The Pensions Commission's logic is deeply flawed.
See FT website (paywall)
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Is the Pensions Commission Report flawed?" January 2005
See FTfm article "Ralfe challenges Turner report" by Pauline Skypala January 2005


Pensions rules still allow manipulation - Charles Cowling, Financial Times, 22/09/2005
Despite the tighter accounting rules imposed by FRS17 and IAS19, I believe the standards can still allow profits to be overstated, balance sheet liabilities to be understated and volatility to be hidden from investors.

UK pensions still taking risks with equities - John Ralfe, FTfm, 19/09/2005
If investment in bonds should match at least match pensions in payment, FTSE100 pension schemes are short £74bn

A power shift looms in the pensions revolution - John Plender, Financial Times, 19/09/2005
This week sees a fundamental shift in the balance of power from UK employers to pension scheme trustees as the 2004 Pensions Act's new rules for calculating pension liabilities finally come in.

A great benefit – if the company stays solvent - Philip Coggan, Financial Times, 17/09/2005
It was a perk so widespread that it was virtually unappreciated. Work for 40 years for a company and you could retire on an income equal to two-thirds of your final salary.

Somerfield pensions deal struck - Maija Palmer and Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 29/08/2005
The two consortiums vying to purchase Somerfield could launch formal bids for the supermarket group within weeks, after reaching agreement with the Pensions Regulator on providing security for the food retailer's pensions scheme.

Pension accounting - Lex, Financial Times, 15/08/2005
The law of unintended consequences is a powerful one. Few outcomes however are as perverse as the impact of new International Financial Reporting Standards on BT Group's profit and loss account.

CBI fears costly levy could hasten demise of the final salary pension scheme - Norma Cohen & Ben Hall, Financial Times, 12/08/2005
The CBI has fired the opening salvo in what is likely to become a heated dispute this autumn among business, the government and the industry-funded insurance scheme set up to protect occupational pensions of employees whose companies go bust.

Pension Protection Fund levy - Tom Burroughes, Reuters, 10/08/2005
Britain's PPF must raise enough money from companies now in setting a new levy as it may not have a second chance to get its finances right, a leading pension expert said.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Will the PPF charge enough?" August 2005


Big rise urged in levy for pension safety net - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 10/08/2005
John Ralfe concludes that the much higher sum would be required if the PPF were to charge underfunded schemes a rate of interest in line with charges they would have to pay for bank borrowing.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Will the PPF charge enough?" August 2005


Give us chastity - but not too much or soon - Lombard (Martin Dickson), Financial Times, 10/08/2005
The combined FTSE 100 pensions deficit only fell from £42bn to £37bn in the year to July under the FRS 17 mark-to-market accounting method.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Will the PPF charge enough?" August 2005


Pension deficit could be issue - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 09/08/2005
The pension deficit at Marconi could prove a difficult issue for prospective buyers looking to acquire the telecoms equipment supplier, as new UK pensions laws could require a bidder to negotiate with the trustees as well as with management.

Will the PPF charge enough? - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum Note 19, 08/08/2005
The Pension Protection Fund has now published the Consultation Document on its charging structure for 2006/7.

UK pensions - Lex, Financial Times, 01/08/2005
The UK's biggest stash of inside information is on the desk of the new Pension Regulator. Companies now need to get “clearance” before entering activity which might impact their pension fund's solvency.

Politics, the flaw in Labour’s pensions lifeline - Lisa Buckingham, Mail on Sunday, 17/07/2005
The Pension Protection Fund was the creation of politicians.

Companies still failing to fill the funding gap - Lucy Warwick Ching, Financial Times, 16/07/2005
The dire state of Britain's pensions system was highlighted this week as new figures revealed that the black hole in company pension schemes is getting deeper in spite of a steady rise in equity markets
See RBC Capital Markets Note "Corporate Pensions: Deficits, contributions & asset allocation" July 2005


Companies fail to dent pension deficits - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 11/07/2005
Britain's largest companies made little or no dent in their pension scheme deficits last year, in spite of a rise in equity markets and increased company contributions.
See RBC Capital Markets Note "Corporate Pensions: Deficits, contributions & asset allocation" July 2005


Bond shortfall - John Plender, Financial Times, 11/07/2005
The latest aggregate pre-tax pension fund deficit for the FTSE 100 remains stubbornly unchanged from last year, on the FRS17 accounting basis, at £60bn or 5 per cent of market capitalisation.
See RBC Capital Markets Note "Corporate Pensions: Deficits, contributions & asset allocation" July 2005


Corporate Pensions: Deficits, contributions & asset allocation - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum Note 18, 11/07/2005
What has happened on corporate pensions over the last year? Much of the action has been on regulation, with the new Pensions Regulator and Pension Protection Fund already seeing some large casualties

Pensions watchdog primed to protect benefits, not jobs - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 08/07/2005
David Norgrove, chairman of The Pensions Regulator, says that his main role is to protect workers' pensions and limit claims on the new safety net for schemes, the Pension Protection Fund.

Yields, Pensions and Shifts in demand for Bonds - David Miles & Melanie Baker, Morgan Stanley Equity Research Europe, 04/07/2005
Pension fund demand for fixed income assets likely to be large in coming years

A shameful pensions confidence trick - Martin Wolf, Financial Times, 01/07/2005
The implosion of private sector defined benefit pension schemes accelerates. Christine Farnish, chief executive of the National Association of Pension Funds, expects them to disappear altogether from the private sector within five years.

Brunt of pension levy to fall on debt-laden groups - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 30/06/2005
The bulk of the £300m yearly corporate levy to support the new Pension Protection Fund will fall on companies that are heavily in debt and have underfunded their retirement schemes.

S&P issues guidelines for UK pension schemes to eliminate deficits - Jim MacLachlan, S&P Press Release, 30/06/2005
S&P has issued the first guidelines to help UK pension schemes determine an appropriate policy and timeframe for eliminating scheme deficits.

Hermes may opt for hedge funds - Henry Tricks, Financial Times, 29/06/2005
Hermes, the BT Group pension fund manager, is thought to be considering putting 10 per cent of the fund's £30bn of assets in "alternative" investments such as hedge funds, as it seeks to plug a gaping pension hole.

Pension safety net avoids investing in shares - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 24/06/2005
The PPF is to invest all its assets in bonds, cash and derivatives.

Unison issues pension threat - Andrew Taylor, Financial Times, 23/06/2005
Ministers have been given two weeks to withdraw a parliamentary order imposing changes in retirement arrangements for 800,000 local authority workers or face industrial action.

Turnbull warning over civil service pensions - Nicholas Timmins, Financial Times, 21/06/2005
The civil service has to adjust to the fact that the pension age is going to rise from 60 to 65, Sir Andrew Turnbull, outgoing cabinet secretary, said yesterday

- John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 16/06/2005
The National Audit Office, which scrutinises the PPF on behalf of parliament, should be invited to investigate the deal.
See FT website (paywall)


Pension bail-outs: Hazardous - The Economist, The Economist, 16/06/2005
The government's pension insurer is taking equity in a troubled company. Is this a fresh form of nationalisation?

A regulator trying to ride two horses - Editorial, Financial Times, 15/06/2005
Regulators should not take stakes in companies they regulate if they wish to avoid conflicts of interest

Taking a stake in the future - Notebook (Robert Shrimsley), Financial Times, 10/06/2005
The Pension Protection Fund has taken a 10 per cent stake in Heath Lambert in return for allowing the insurance broker to park its £210m pension deficit.
See JER FT Letter “Little light shed on Heath Lambert agreement” June 2005


Concern over pensions 'lifeboat' provision - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 10/06/2005
Companies seeking to restructure their debts by placing their underfunded pension schemes into the new government-backed safety net, the Pension Protection Fund, will be asked to give the PPF an equity stake in the newly restructured company.

Letter to Chairman of the PPF - John Ralfe, , 09/06/2005
Questions to the PPF on the arrangement reached with Heath Lambert

Institute of Actuaries Press release - Institute of Actuaries, Institute of Actuaries Website, 06/06/2005
Government reluctance to define "prudence" may give scheme members a "false sense of security" about their pensions.

Ministers will cop out of compulsory savings - Liam Halligan, Sunday Telegraph, 05/06/2005
Liam Halligan despairs that the Government has missed the opportunity to tackle the pensions crisis

Funny rating - John Plender, Financial Times, 30/05/2005
Are the credit rating agencies weighing up UK pension deficits correctly?

'Super-long' auction to offer £2.5bn of gilts - Joanna Chung, Financial Times, 18/05/2005
Details of the 50-year gilt that will be issued next week were released by the government yesterday as it prepared to borrow at such a long maturity for the first time in more than 40 years.

Settlement reached in pensions dispute - Nikki Tait, Financial Times, 17/05/2005
Watson Wyatt, the specialist consulting firm, said it had reached a settlement in its legal dispute over the valuations it did for a Credit Lyonnais pension scheme.

New tool helps pension fund trustees assess risk of sponsor - Nick Timmins, Financial Times, 10/05/2005
S&P's new service for pension schemes

Pensions - Lex, Financial Times, 07/05/2005
UK corporate pensions remain embroiled in a civil war. The Cavaliers, mainly companies, support the status quo, which uses actuarial valuations to calculate corporate contributions.

S&P on the PPF - John Plender, Financial Times, 18/04/2005
The plight of the Turner & Newall pension scheme has highlighted the risk posed to the UK's new Pension Protection Fund by the collapse of large companies.

John Shuttleworth Tribute - John Ralfe, Read at his Memorial, 18/04/2005
John Shuttleworth died age 47

Kicking pensions into the long grass - Editorial, Financial Times, 13/04/2005
One of the biggest issues facing Britain is the challenge of providing decent pensions for an ageing population, yet it is all but absent from the political debate ahead of the general election.

Pension fund trustees face grilling on investments - Norma Cohen & Jonathan Guthrie, Financial Times, 13/04/2005
The trustees of the MG Rover pension scheme are likely to face questions about why they invested the fund's assets in risky equities, when the company's financial position was clearly troubled.

MG Rover pensions - Lombard (Alison Smith), Financial Times, 13/04/2005
Why does the MG Rover pension scheme have - or had at December 2003 - a £67m deficit under the FRS17 accounting standard, since it was fully funded when it was set up in 2001 by the departing BMW?
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "MG Rover pensions Briefing" April 2005


MG Rover pensions Briefing Note - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum 16, 13/04/2005
How bad is the MG Rover pension position? How hard will the deficit hit pension scheme members and the Pension Protection Fund, which opened its doors in the same week the Company entered administration?

Will Turner & Newall sink the PPF? - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum 15, 13/04/2005
The PPF opens its doors on April 6th. Its Chairman has suggested it will take on £1.8bn of liabilities and £1.5bn of assets in its first year.

Pensions and bond bulls - John Plender, Financial Times, 11/04/2005
British companies with big pension deficits will not be comforted by the Pension Protection Fund's new guidance for valuing protected pension liabilities.

Industry faces £50m pension bill for (MG Rover) failure - Ben Hall, Financial Times, 09/04/2005
The collapse of MG Rover could land industry with a £50m bill to safeguard the pensions of the company's employees.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "MG Rover pensions Briefing" April 2005


High time to extract the pig from the poke - Lombard (Martin Dickson), Financial Times, 08/04/2005
Pernod Ricard and Fortune Brands, the putative bidders for Allied Domecq, are, among other things, trying to get their heads round its £400m pension fund deficit.

Companies face tougher regime over pension funds - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 06/04/2005
Companies and the trustees of their pension schemes will have to use a more conservative method to calculate liabilities when considering whether to approve corporate transactions such as buy-outs, restructuring or outright sales.

Big company casualties may sink PPF - John Ralfe, FTfm, 04/04/2005
If the PPF does keep its head above water, this will be good luck not good management

Church finances boosted by shrewd investing - Jimmy Burns, Financial Times, 30/03/2005
The Church of England may be racked by theological division, but its finances have received a generous blessing thanks to the good performance of its investment fund.
See JER FTfm article "The Church's reckless investment gamble" February 2010
See Sunday Times article May 2012


Reforms take the security out of Social Security - Joseph Stiglitz, Financial Times, 21/03/2005
The challenge posed by the impending retirement of the baby boomers and the potential financial problems facing Social Security in the US are widely acknowledged.

Pension lifeboat’s £225m T&N load - Christine Seib, The Times, 18/03/2005
Because the PPF offers less generous inflation-proofing than T&N, Mr Ralfe said that T&N scheme members would lose almost 30 per cent of the pensions they were promised.

Pensioners at T&N will still lose out - Dominic White, The Daily Telegraph, 18/03/2005
A leading pensions expert has estimated that members of the Turner & Newall scheme will lose almost 30pc of their pensions promises even after it receives compensation from the PPF.

Shake-up urged for actuarial profession - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 17/03/2005
A government panel has proposed sweeping reforms for the actuarial profession, which would see it come under the scrutiny of an independent regulator and which include guidelines aimed at spurring greater competition among the largest actuarial firms.

Pension funds await decision on launch of 50-year bonds - Sundeep Tucker, Financial Times, 15/03/2005
Pension funds could invest up to £65bn in 50-year government bonds that are widely expected to be announced in the Budget tomorrow, a leading industry lobby group has predicted.

Liabilities harden in the private equity boom - John Plender, Financial Times, 07/03/2005
One of the biggest problems for Britain's new pensions regulator and the Pension Protection Fund as the 2004 Pensions Act takes effect, is the huge damage done to defined benefit pension rights by the private equity boom.

Business given promise of 'light touch' approach over regulation - Ben Hall, Financial Times, 03/03/2005
The chairman of the government's new pensions regulator has promised to use "sparingly" his extensive powers to ensure companies do not shirk their responsibilities.

Deep freeze - Lombard (Martin Dickson), Financial Times, 02/03/2005
Of the many things that make Uniq, the chilled convenience food manufacturer, unique, one is the size of its pension fund deficit. And yesterday disagreement over how to handle this put a potential bid for the company into the deep freeze.

Morris Review of the Actuarial Profession - Sir Derek Morris, HMT website, 02/03/2005

Sale & leasebacks - Lex, Financial Times, 01/03/2005
In the world of finance, companies' property portfolios still provoke oddly irrational reactions.

Risks of reliance on equity returns - Editorial, Financial Times, 01/03/2005
A key element of George W. Bush's plan for Social Security privatisation would require each pensioner to purchase an annuity to provide an income stream that would last until death.

DB trustees should assess sponsors' strength - Jim MacLachlan, Ftfm, 28/02/2005
The recent failures of Courts and Allders have served as unwelcome reminders of how unpredictable and rapid the demise of a business can be when it gets into financial difficulty.

Retiring risk - Lex, Financial Times, 28/02/2005
Forty per cent of the chief financial officers at the top 100 US companies spent more time managing the pension fund than the business last year.

Boots' trustees must demonstrate more transparency - John Ralfe & 56 other members of the Boots pension scheme, Financial Times Letters, 26/02/2005
We remain concerned about the trustees' lack of openness, transparency and accountability in refusing the request by 162 members to make available the independent investment advice.
See FT website (paywall)


Boots trustees do not accept their strategy increases risk - John Watson, Financial Times Letters, 19/02/2005
Your report and comments on the Boots pension scheme and the decision to switch some of the fund from bonds into other asset classes should be placed in context.

Some muted support for the stock market bulls - Tony Tassell, Financial Times (scroll down page), 19/02/2005
It has been a good week for pensioners but far less so for holders of unsecured corporate bonds.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note February 2005


Burden shared - Patience Wheatcroft, The Times, 16/02/2005
Comment on change to pension law
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note February 2005


Legislative Briefing Note - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum Note 14, 15/02/2005
The value of liquidated assets will be spread more thinly and unsecured creditors, including bondholders, will lose out.

Ex-Boots executive challenges pension trustees - Alexander Jolliffe, Financial Times, 12/02/2005
The former head of cor-porate finance at Boots, the high street retailer, has accused the trustees of the £3bn pension scheme of failing to explain its shift in investment towards riskier assets.

Boots loosens laces - Lombard (Jane Fuller), Financial Times (scroll down page), 12/02/2005
Of course, the gamble may not pay off and then Boots will be in a worse position.

Ralfe challenges Turner report - Pauline Skypala, FTfm, 31/01/2005
John Ralfe has called into question the thinking behind Adair Turner's Pensions Commission report, and said the analysis was incomplete at best and flawed at worst.
See RBC Capital Market Note January 2005
See FTfm article by Pauline Skypala May 2012


Is the Pensions Commission Report flawed? - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum Note, 31/01/2005
The Pension Commission's Report is incomplete at best and flawed at worst.
See FTfm article by Pauline Skypala May 2012


Equity Challenge - Anthony Hilton, Evening Standard, 28/01/2005
Equity risk should be measured as the cost of buying insurance via an equity put option - the cost of such insurance increases rather than decreases over time.

No Free Lunch - Alistair Blair, Investors Chronicle, 28/01/2005
"The tale of your pension in 4 parts"

Pensions back long-dated bonds - Alex Skorecki, Financial Times, 25/01/2005
The Debt Management Office said there was a broad consensus that the government should issue more long-dated and inflation-linked bonds.

Thresher revisited - John Plender, Financial Times, 24/01/2005
Interesting news for employees of the Thresher Wines group, which is owned by Guy Hands' Terra Firma Capital Partners. On December 13 I pointed out that the Thresher accounts showed that the directors had invested 100 per cent of the pension fund in equities.

Shake-up for trustees - John Plender, Financial Times, 18/01/2005
The mass of well-intentioned but not necessarily expert folk who control Britain's occupational pension fund billions will confront a bracing test in April when the new Pensions Act comes into force.

Pensions: Challenges and choices: What next? - Nicholas Barr, LSE Paper, 17/01/2005
Comments on the First Pensions Commission Report

Overhaul Plan for Pensions Is Outlined - Mary Williams Walsh, New York Times, 11/01/2005
The Bush administration outlined an ambitious plan on Monday to shore up America's pension funds and the federal agency that insures them.

Bundled servicing gets the flak - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 10/01/2005
Sir Derek Morris's review of the workings of the actuarial profession has lifted the lid on what has been an obscure, but highly influential, group.

Trustees turn to swaps to match liabilities - Pauline Skypala, Financial Times, 10/01/2005
Discussion of matching pension scheme liablities

Less is less - Zvi Bodie, Milken Institute Review, 10/01/2005
Straight talk about US Government Pension Insurance

Pensions gloom to continue as employers rethink responsibilities - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 03/01/2005
Pension stories barely left the front pages of newspapers in 2004; it is likely that they will remain there through this year as well.

The Times they are a-changin' - Jeremy Gold, North American Actuarial Journal, 02/01/2005
The North American Pension Finance train pulled into Vancouver in June 2003 where it met the U.K. Pension Finance Express.

Pension Funds & the UK economy - Jon Exley, North American Actuarial Journal, 02/01/2005
The conclusion of the paper is that the most significant impact of pension funds on the U.K. economy relates to the costs imposed by extreme mismatching between their financial assets and liabilities.

In the dark - John Plender, Financial Times, 20/12/2004
While on the subject of transparency, 160 members of the Boots pension fund, including John Ralfe, the former Boots executive who masterminded the fund's 100 per cent switch into bonds, wrote last week to the trustees to express concern.

Actuaries urged to accept greater accountability - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 18/12/2004
The actuarial profession needs a much clearer idea of to whom it is accountable and must take greater account of the wider public interest it serves, according to the interim findings of a government review released on Friday. (Morris Review)

Guy Hands' off balance sheet hedge fund - John Plender, Financial Times, 13/12/2004
Since the pension scheme trustees of WH Smith, the ailing UK retailer, derailed a takeover approach by private equity group Permira, pension funds have been seen by the private equity fraternity as a potential poison pill.

An age-old problem - Philip Coggan, Financial Times, 11/12/2004
The corporate sector is already struggling with the cost of providing pensions. Now it is the government's turn to try to cut the bill.

Turner & Newall - John Ralfe & Greg Wood, Today Programme Radio 4, 07/12/2004
Discussion on Turner & Newall Pension Scheme
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "T&N “On the cusp”" November 2004


Should Financial Economics change the way you manage your pension plan? - Alan Parikh, Mercer US website, 02/12/2004
This describes the implications of FE theory for pension plans. Our intent is to help pension plan sponsors consider both this theory and competing viewpoints as they make decisions about their plans and participate in these important policy debates.

Undone by Market Risk - Mary Williams Walsh, New York Times, 28/11/2004
America seems to be giving up on the traditional pension. Scores of pension plans have been cut back, converted or closed in the last few years, and there has been a run of spectacular failures in the airline and steel industries.

How to throw a wet blanket over takeovers - Lombard (Martin Dickson), Financial Times, 20/11/2004
So is this the end of takeover activity as we know it - about to be horribly stifled by government meddling?

Chorus of disapproval for pensions bill - Ben Hall, Financial Times, 19/11/2004
The pensions bill scraped through parliament on Thursday to a chorus of criticism from business and the pensions industry.

Turner & Newall - Martin Dickson, Financial Times, 18/11/2004
Since T&N's PPF shortfall is around £500m, will the fund open its doors in 2005 with a deficit of at least this size?
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "T&N “On the cusp”" November 2004


Turner & Newall - Jeremy Warner, The Independent, 18/11/2004
The implications of Government proposals for an industry funded pensions protection fund (PPF) grow more alarming by the day.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "T&N “On the cusp”" November 2004


Turner & Newall - Lombard (Martin Dickson), Financial Times, 18/11/2004
Will a UK government policy shift have a pernicious impact on the complex negotiations between the trustees of the Turner & Newall pension fund and Carl Icahn, the US financier trying to reorganise Federal Mogul, its American parent, which is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings?
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "T&N “On the cusp”" November 2004


Accounting rule proposals could magnify size of pension deficits - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 18/11/2004
The UK's leading pension group is urging the adoption of new accounting rules that could magnify the size of pension deficits recorded on the balance sheets of some of the UK's largest employers.
See FT article September 2004. Why has the NAPF changed its views?


T&N - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum Note 11, 18/11/2004
The T&N Pension Scheme Trustees announced they would not be voting in favour of a US Reorganisation Plan, which could see T&N, and its US parent Federal-Mogul emerge from US Chapter 11.

Accounting rule proposals could magnify size of pension deficits - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 18/11/2004
The UK's leading pension group is urging the adoption of new accounting rules that could magnify the size of pension deficits recorded on the balance sheets of some of the UK's largest employers.
But see FT article September 2011 Why has the NAPF now changed its tune?


Leases left hanging in the balance - Jim Pickard, Financial Times, 12/11/2004
In the wider debate about international accounting standards, leases are often forgotten or ignored - and foolishly so.

Pensions too tight to mention - Philip Coggan, Financial Times, 11/11/2004
US pension funds are still making unrealistic assumptions about future market returns, more than four years after the collapse of the dotcom bubble.

BNP offers hedge against longevity - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 08/11/2004
The first-ever investment hedge designed to protect pension schemes against the risk that their members might live longer than predicted is to be launched on Monday by BNP Paribas.

Valuing and Hedging Defined Benefit Pension Obligations - Deborah Lucas, NA, 02/11/2004
This study revisits the related questions of how a firm should value and hedge its DB pension plan obligations, when earnings growth and stock returns are positively correlated over long horizons.

Accounting for Pensions - NAPF, NAPF Policy Paper, 02/11/2004
The purpose of this paper is to suggest changes to the way in which the cost of pensions is allocated to accounting periods on a fair and rational basis
But see FT article September 2011 Why has the NAPF now changed its tune?


- John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 29/10/2004
Signing a long-term property lease is a big capital investment that the tenant finances through a series of post-dated cheques to the landlord.

Time to end a scandal - , The Economist, 28/10/2004
Companies should not be allowed to play accounting games with their pension funds.

Pension rules reform could force employers to pay more - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 27/10/2004
The Institute of Actuaries is to consider new rules for members preparing pension valuation reports that could ultimately force employers to put substantially more cash into UK pension schemes.

Funding Defined Benefit Pension Schemes - Charles Cowling, Tim Gordon & Cliff Speed, Institute of Actuaries, 25/10/2004
Puts the case for tightening actuarial funding advice

PPF is urged to invest in bonds - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 25/10/2004
The protection fund being set up as a safety net for occupational pensions should invest overwhelmingly in bonds to avoid the risk of "a systemic failure" at a time of weak economic conditions, a pension lobby group has warned.

"Actuaries can serve only one client" - Terry Arthur, Financial Times letters, 21/10/2004
Actuarial conflicts of interest

Sainsbury trustees' decision "has reduced pension assets" - Lord Lucas, Financial Times Letters, 20/10/2004
Concerns about Sainsbury Trustees

Humpty Dumpty - Lombard (Martin Dickson), Financial Times, 19/10/2004
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty says in Alice Through the Looking Glass, "it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less."
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "J Sainsbury Revisited - the actuarial challenge" October 2004


The Case Against Stock in Public Pension Funds - Lawrence N. Bader & Jeremy Gold, Working Paper, 19/10/2004
A government has $1 million of stock in a pension fund that covers its employees. The liability can be matched with a $1-million dedicated bond portfolio. What are the consequences of shifting the pension fund from equities to bonds?

Sainsbury warned over pension fund - By Kate Burgess, Norma Cohen and Alexander Jolliffe, Financial Times, 18/10/2004
J. Sainsbury has increased the risk in its pension fund in a move that allows it to shrink its deficit and lower its contribution, says a leading pension consultant.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "J Sainsbury Revisited - the actuarial challenge" October 2004


Sainsbury’s - Tom Bawden, The Times, 18/10/2004
J SAINSBURY faces a £630 million pension fund shortfall because the retailer has underestimated the risk attached to a new investment policy, according to John Ralfe.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "J Sainsbury Revisited - the actuarial challenge" October 2004


Sainsbury’s saves on pensions bill - Tessa Thorniley & Nina Montagu-Smith, Daily Telegraph, 18/10/2004
J Sainsbury is adopting a riskier investment strategy for its £3.3billion final salary pension scheme, allowing the struggling supermarket chain to reduce its contributions into the fund.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "J Sainsbury Revisited - the actuarial challenge" October 2004


J Sainsbury Revisited - the actuarial challenge - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum Note 10, 18/10/2004
Analysis of Sainsbury's recent actuarial valuation

Increased longevity and impact on pensions have been subject of debate since 19th century - Prof Gordon L Clark and Prof Noel Whiteside, Financial Times Letters, 18/10/2004
We were astonished to learn from the Adair Turner report that increased longevity represents a new threat to the sustainability of pension incomes in this country.

Sainsbury warned over pension fund - Kate Burgess, Norma Cohen and Alexander Jolliffe, Financial Times, 18/10/2004
J Sainsbury the UK's third largest supermarket chain, has increased the risk in its pension fund in a move that allows it to shrink its deficit and lower its contribution, says a leading pension consultant.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "J Sainsbury Revisited - the actuarial challenge" October 2004


Flow of mortality information is being improved - Michael Pomery, Financial Times Letters, 13/10/2004
Norma Cohen's article "Longer life 'presents big risk to companies'" (October 8) rightly draws attention to the significant impact longevity is having on pension fund finances.

Longevity bond term sheet - BNP Paribas, BNP Paribas, 01/10/2004
The Longevity Bond is an innovative product designed by BNP Paribas to protect UK pension funds against longevity and interest rate risks.

KPMG to boost pension scheme by £13m - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 29/09/2004
KPMG has decided to augment the pensions of some of the members of its closed pension scheme through a £13m cash injection while it awaits an appeal on a High Court ruling that could force it to add at least £71m to the fund.

Restoring Confidence in Long-Term Savings - Michael Pomery, Institute of Actuaries, 27/09/2004
Address by President of the Institute of Actuaries

A breathtaking display of silly tinkering - Lombard (Martin Dickson), Financial Times, 15/09/2004
Another week, yet another minister running (if that is the right word) the Department for Work and Pensions, and yet another breathtaking display of government incompetence in occupational pensions policy.

A re-run of the S & L disaster - John Plender, Financial Times, 13/09/2004
In the light of United Airlines' proposal to stop contributing to its pension funds, comparisons are increasingly being made between today's overstretched US pension fund system and the savings and loans crisis of the 1980s.

Public sector pension deficit hits £580bn - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 11/08/2004
The UK's public sector pension schemes have unfunded liabilities of about £580bn, more than 50 per cent higher than the most recent estimate published two years ago, according to actuarial consultants Watson Wyatt.

Pensions Crisis : File on 4 - Michael Robinson, BBC Radio 4 , 03/08/2004
"Britain's pension crisis is deepening". Includes interview with JER

Morris dancing for actuaries - Barry Riley, Financial Times, 02/08/2004
Comments on the Actuarial Profession
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Savings Crisis - Philip Coggan, Financial Times, 31/07/2004
The intellectual high ground was captured by a 1997 paper from Exley, Mehta and Smith which stated that pension fund liabilities were bond-like and thus equities were an inappropriate asset for pension funds to hold.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


T&N casts a long shadow on pensions policy - John Ralfe, Financial Times Comment and analysis, 26/07/2004
The government was a reluctant convert to the idea of a pension protection fund. Unless set up properly, it could make things worse.

Pensions: 'gloomy' is too mild a term - Liam Halligan, Sunday Telegraph, 25/07/2004
On Channel 4 News last week, Malcolm Wicks described coverage of Britain's final salary pension schemes as "gloomy"

It's not the economy, stupid. It's pensions. - Lisa Buckingham, Mail on Sunday, 25/07/2004
The past week has thrown up yet more evidence that the pensions crisis has gone well beyond being a problem for a handful of employees.

Shedding light on pensions holes - Lombard (Martin Dickson), Financial Times, 22/07/2004
So while there has been a steady increase in corporate contributions over the past couple of years, companies are running hard to stand still, as Mr Ralfe points out.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Are Company Contributions Big Enough?" July 2004


No easy answers on pensions gap - Patience Wheatcroft, The Times, 22/07/2004
John Ralfe, that assiduous chronicler of the state of the nation's pensions, has been doing his sums again and produced some frightening results.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Are Company Contributions Big Enough?" July 2004


Companies 'failing to plug pension shortfall' - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 22/07/2004
"Surely the days of whistling in the dark, hoping that the financial markets will plug pension deficits are gone?"
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Are Company Contributions Big Enough?" July 2004


Are Company Contributions Big Enough? - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets open Forum Note 8, 22/07/2004
Are the cheques companies are now writing for their pension schemes big enough to plug deficits?

Bad Idea - Lombard (Martin Dickson), Financial Times, 21/07/2004
Here is an idea that needs stamping on hard: that the government should put taxpayers' money into the Pensions Protection Fund.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Pension threat for 40,000 T&N staff - Tessa Thorniley, Daily Telegraph, 10/07/2004
The pensions of 40,000 members of the £1.2 billion scheme of car parts supplier T&N are under threat.

An easy way out of a hole - John Plender, Financial Times, 05/07/2004
The Financial Services Authority sports an accumulated deficit in its latest balance sheet of £67.4m.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Occupational pensions: Losing altitude - The Economist, The Economist, 29/06/2004
Renewed retirement worries for workers in America and Britain

Rattling pensions skeletons - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 28/06/2004
When WH Smith announced last week the size of its pension deficit had forced the suspension of talks about a possible offer for the group, it sent shock waves through corporate finance houses throughout the UK.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


A boring investment that's very hot - John Plender, Financial Times, 28/06/2004
Mature British occupational pension funds will reduce their holdings of equities to 40 per cent of their portfolios by 2010.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Pensions puzzle - Lombard (Martin Dickson), Financial Times, 25/06/2004
Both the pension fund and investment banking industries are still absorbing the implications of the collapse of takeover talks between Permira and WH Smith.

Actuarial falling-out - Anthony Hilton, Evening Standard, 24/06/2004
The public falling-out between consultant actuaries Hewitt Bacon & Woodrow and a rival, Mercer, over Boots Pensions raises a fundamental issue.

UK pensions - Simon Targett and Phil Davis, Financial Times, 21/06/2004
Some of the UK's biggest corporate pension schemes are likely to sell off most of their stake in the domestic stock market over the next 10 or more years.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Boots under fire for ’casual’ move out of bonds - , IPE.com, 21/06/2004
William Mercer "did not advise Boots on the switch away from bonds."

Filling the gap - Philip Coggan, Financial Times, 12/06/2004
Most financial textbooks dictate that, the longer the investor's time horizon, the greater the proportion of his portfolio should be placed in equities.

Morris Review of the Actuarial Profession - Sir Derek Morris, Website, 10/06/2004
Consulation Document for Sir Derek Morris's Review

Boots' latest switch raises calls to cut employers powers - Phil Davis, Financial Times, 06/06/2004
Boots was widely criticised following the recent reversal of its 2001 decision to switch its pension fund entirely into long-dated bonds.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Risk-taking trustees - John Plender, Financial Times, 31/05/2004
Intriguing to note that the trustees of the Boots pension fund have chosen to take on more risk. FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE

PPF: not a "partial protection fund" - Alex Jolliffe, Financial Times, 29/05/2004
Lawrence Churchill is in the hot seat. He is the man charged with protecting your final salary pension should your employer collapse.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Boots and bondage - Lombard (Martin Dickson), Financial Times, 28/05/2004
Has Boots' pension fund taken leave of its senses?

Pension U-turn dismays strategist - Antonia Senior, The Times, 28/05/2004
Boots yesterday unveiled an unexpected U-turn on its ground-breaking strategy of investing its entire £2.8 billion pension fund in bonds.

Boots’ strange pension decision - Anthony Hilton, Evening Standard, 28/05/2004
Boots' decision to move part of its its pension fund out of bonds must count as one of the more bizarre financial decisions of recent times.

Boots pension scheme cuts bond allocation - Daniel Brooksbank, IPE.com, 27/05/2004
The £2.8bn pension scheme of retailer Boots is to cut its allocation to bonds.

Ministers warned on pension funding - Alex Jolliffe, Financial Times, 17/05/2004
Plans for a pensions safety net will be "just a comfort blanket" unless ministers force companies to pay enough cash into pension schemes, an expert will warn today.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Add pensions to Sainsbury’s basket of woe - Lisa Buckingham, Mail on Sunday, 16/05/2004
When the group announces results this week, it is expected to give more details of the latest actuarial review of its pension schemes.

Pension relief is on its way - Anthony Hilton, Evening Standard, 14/05/2004
THE pensions debate is bubbling up nicely.

Bruising pensions debate - John Plender, Financial Times, 10/05/2004
The UK Government's review of progress on compliance with the Myners' report on institutional investment must be a lively affair.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Straight-talking actuary - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 07/05/2004
When Tom Ross grins, he acquires an elfin air, which is something of an achievement considering that he is an actuary.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Actuaries warned over legal conflicts - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 06/05/2004
Pension actuaries have been warned about legal pitfalls they face when representing trustees and the employer.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Competence of pension trustees is questioned - Alex Jolliffe, Financial Times, 01/05/2004
Ministers are reviewing the role of volunteer pension fund trustees.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Wake up or else, pension scheme trustees - Alex Jolliffe, Financial Times, 01/05/2004
Trustees of Britain's occupational pension schemes stand accused of serious failures.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Equities find a champion - Philip Coggan, Financial Times, 01/05/2004
What types of asset should pension funds invest in has been the subject of recent vigorous debate.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Certificate in practical financial economics syllabus - Institute of Actuaries, Institute of Actuaries, 01/05/2004
Syllabus for new Actuarial Profession exam

Pension loophole blocked - Nicholas Timmins and Alexander Jolliffe, Financial Times, 28/04/2004
Ministers yesterday took urgent action to stop companies dumping their pension liabilities on the Pension Protection Fund.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Maine Takes a Cautious Path on Its Pensions - Mary Williams Walsh, New York Times, 23/04/2004
Maine is deliberately aiming for low, but guaranteed, investment income to pay for the retirement benefits of its workers.

GM reflects problems facing US - Stephen Schurr, Financial Times, 17/04/2004
What's bad for General Motors is bad for America.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Pension pork - The Economist, The Economist, 16/04/2004
A new law fails to fix and probably worsens America's pension problem

On the cheap - , The Economist, 16/04/2004
The government is not owning up to the full cost of protecting the promises made by company pension schemes

Britain must learn from US pensions pain - John Ralfe, The Times, 12/04/2004
John Ralfe warns against papering over the funding cracks in US pensions

Benefits boost for Boots - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 10/04/2004
Boots' comments on its pension position may give the false impression that the Boots pension scheme's move from equities to bonds left a long-term problem that is now being uncovered by the new management.

Companies double their payments to pensions - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 10/04/2004
Britain's largest companies almost doubled their cash contributions to their pension schemes last year as they struggled to fill yawning deficits.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


The Cult of the Equity for Pension funds: Should it get the Boot? - Charles Sutcliffe, Southampton University, 02/04/2004
Discussion Papers in Accounting and Finance, Southampton University

Reaffirming Pension Actuarial Science - Dimitry Mindlin, Website, 02/04/2004
The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that the actuarial pension model is in complete harmony with the principles of the financial economics.

Pensions Bill debate - Hansard, Financial Times, 01/04/2004
Mr. John Ralfe, famous for his connection with the Boots pension fund, said that the scheme needed £600 million from FTSE 100 companies alone; otherwise, it could go bust. Have the Government any revised estimates of the total cost of the scheme?

Holes are found in the pensions safety net - Alex Jolliffe, Financial Times, 27/03/2004
Andrew Smith has bowed to demands from Britain's four top actuaries for a meeting to discuss claims that his plans to protect final salary pension schemes might fail.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


In a tangle on pension ’promises’ - Anthony Hilton, Evening Standard, 26/03/2004
JOHN RALFE once remarked that the lessons of Equitable Life as outlined in the Penrose Report were more applicable to defined pension funds than to insurance companies.

Letter to the Secretary of State at the DWP - Jeremy Goford and Tom Ross, Institute of Actuaries Website, 22/03/2004
Letter to the DWP about the PPF from the Heads of the Actuarial Profession

The real lessons of the Penrose Report - John Ralfe, Financial Times, 15/03/2004
The conclusions from the Equitable Life affair have serious implications for company pension schemes

Equitable and the end of a British way of life - John Kay, Financial Times, 10/03/2004
A nodding acquaintance with modern finance theory tells you Equitable's strategy was the equivalent of alchemy or perpetual motion

Ending the funding fiction - Philip Coggan, Financial Times, 02/03/2004
Marks and Spencer's decision to raise £400m via a bond issue to reduce the deficit in its pension scheme may signal a growing trend
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Ralfe's sums - Lombard (Martin Dickson), Financial Times, 21/02/2004
Faced with such calculations, the government might just aim for a less rigorous yardstick and pray that no large employer goes belly up.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Can the Pension Protection Fund work?" February 2004


Pension safety net ’will fail without top up of funds - Tessa Thorniley and Neil Collins, Daily Telegraph, 20/02/2004
This fund is a government-sponsored mechanism to rescue broken schemes at the expense of those that are well-run, ultimately underwritten by the taxpayer.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Can the Pension Protection Fund work?" February 2004


Pension sums don’t add up - Anthony Hilton, Evening Standard, 20/02/2004
If the scheme is affordable to pension funds it will not work, but if it is designed to work, it will not be affordable.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Can the Pension Protection Fund work?" February 2004


Fund could go bust - Tom Burroughes, Reuters, 19/02/2004
A proposed British fund designed to bail out bankrupt company pension schemes could itself plunge into the red unless it imposes strict solvency rules on member firms.
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "Can the Pension Protection Fund work?" February 2004


Can the Pension Protection Fund work? - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum, 19/02/2004
Looks at how the PPF should work in practice, particularly the risk-based levy it will charge employers.

Invensys leap-frogs its pension deficit - John Plender, Financial Times, 09/02/2004
Invensys shows that the rights of pension scheme members, vis a vis conventional creditors, can be pretty nebulous.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Deeper into the red - The Economist, The Economist, 05/02/2004
America's guarantor of corporate pensions is in trouble

Sums that add up to less than the hole - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 26/01/2004
Companies might be underestimating potential pension fund deficits using current actuarial calculations
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Controversy over accounting standards - John Rogers and David Damant, Financial Times Letters, 23/01/2004
The UK SIP strongly supports the principles of the IASB and the continuing independence of the standard-setting process.

GM "profits" from boosting its pension fund - John Ralfe, The Times, 22/01/2004
Borrowing to inject cash into the pension plan has no economic substance; GM is just moving money from its treasury pocket to its pension pocket.
See JER FTfm article "Pension pothole on GM’s road to recovery" July 2009


Pensions & cconomics - the way ahead - Andrew Wise, David McCarthy, Jeff Neate, Michael Pardoe & Brandon Horwitz, Staple Inn Actuarial Society, 20/01/2004
"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler”, Albert Einstein

Actuaries need to move with the times - Mike Foster, Financial News, 19/01/2004
Attacking members of the actuarial profession has traditionally been about as satisfying as trying to drown a rubber duck.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Growing old gracefully - Norma Cohen & Clive Cookson, Financial Times, 19/01/2004
Prince Charles has been waiting more than 50 years to become monarch of the United Kingdom.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Pensions: equity rises cancelled out by rising FRS17 liabilities - , Watson Wyatt Press Release, 16/01/2004
For pension schemes, the recovery in equities over the past year has been largely cancelled out by increases in liabilities.

At last we see a clever Boots - Patience Wheatcroft, The Times, 16/01/2004
Today's numbers from Boots may also be flattered by the results of another cute financial move.

Trustees must do reality check - Philip Coggan, Financial Times, 12/01/2004
The pension fund industry still has a lot of adjustment to do if it is to face reality.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Aspects of the economics of an aging population - House of Lords Select Committee, House of Lords, 12/01/2004
Report on coping with an aging population

Resignation letter - Steve Kandarian, PBGC, 07/01/2004
The Director of the PBGC explains the reasons for his resignation

Actuarial Destruction - Douglas Smith, Pensions World, 02/01/2004
Once the mathematics of MFR was understood, the deficiencies in the model were apparent, so we started from 1998 to match our liabilities to commercial annuities.

Irrational Optimism - Elroy Dimson, Paul Marsh, and Mike Staunton, Financial Analysts Journal, 02/01/2004
Irrational exuberance has run its course. The first three years of the 21st century brought one of the worst bear markets in history, with equity markets around the world falling some 40 percent in real terms.

FRS 17 can open up pension truths - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 23/12/2003
Accounting has given the impression that investing in equities reduces the cost of final salary schemes and that a pension fund can have the higher expected return of equities with none of the risk.

Standards that encourage delusion - John Plender, Financial Times, 19/12/2003
There is a risk that others will conclude that the Financial Accounting Standards Board is inviting corporate America to generate fictional earnings by the simple expedient of borrowing to make pension fund contributions.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Shrinking pensions - Lombard (Martin Dickson), Financial Times, 18/12/2003
John Ralfe, the independent pensions consultant, has just issued a paper that highlights the extraordinary flexibility available to actuaries in valuing pension funds.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE
See JER RBC Capital Markets Note "The Actuaries' Magic Pencil : BA, BT and Invensys" December 2003


Adding up pension funds - Anthony Hilton, Evening Standard, 16/12/2003
It has often seemed to me that the cheapest way for a company to solve a pension fund deficit is to change the actuary.

GM pension is smoke and mirrors - John Ralfe & Greg Wood, BBC Radio 4 , 15/12/2003
For GM shareholders nothing has changed. The underlying asset value of GM hasn't increased by a single dollar.
See JER FTfm article "Pension pothole on GM’s road to recovery" July 2009


General Motors Conference Call: Not let off the pension hook - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum 5, 15/12/2003
GM's US pension funding has improved not because of asset performance, but because of GM's $18.5bn contribution. Without the contribution the deficit would have increased during 2003.
See JER FTfm article "Pension pothole on GM’s road to recovery" July 2009


Trouble ahead for BA - Clayton Hirst, Independent on Sunday, 14/12/2003
BA has been fairly open about its pension problems, with a stated £900m deficit.

Pensions angst - Alex Brummer, Daily Mail, 12/12/2003
Amid the mountain of Treasury waffle, the vexed question of the rising deficits in company schemes is barely touched upon.

GM Briefing Note: Let off the pension hook? - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum note 4, 11/12/2003
GM is holding a conference call on December 12th to update investors on its pension position.
See JER FTfm article "Pension pothole on GM’s road to recovery" July 2009


The Actuaries' Magic Pencil : BA, BT and Invensys - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum, 11/12/2003
This note looks at the recently completed actuarial valuations of Invensys, BT and British Airways, all with serious pension issues.

Empty lunch box - John Plender, Financial Times, 01/12/2003
Actuarial consultant Jon Exley takes me to task for my statement last week that shifting from defined benefit to money purchase pensions has the effect of transferring investment risk to the pension scheme members.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Pension Fund Relief Plan Fails to Clear the Senate - Mary Williams Walsh, New York Times, 26/11/2003
A measure that would have let the nation?s businesses defer tens of billions of dollars in pension contributions over the next two years was beaten back in last-minute Senate maneuvering.

Funds "equity focus baffling" - Richard Miles, The Times, 21/11/2003
Pension fund trustees are defying common sense by remaining so heavily invested in equities

Should the Pension “Deal” be Revisited? - Malcom Hamilton, Mercer Breakfast, Canada, 20/11/2003
Canadians today are understandably concerned about their retirement plans. Just read the headlines. “Your Retirement is Part of a Worldwide Crisis” “Third of Boomers Worry about Retirement Needs” “18% Expect to Work until They Die”

Corporate pension funds : The case for bonds - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum, 19/11/2003
What are the challenges to conventional wisdom?

Waiting for the magic moment - Philip Coggan, Financial Times, 17/11/2003
The intellectual case for bonds made by Jon Exley, investment consultant at William M Mercer, and others seems to be gathering strength within the actuarial profession.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Failed Pensions: A Painful Lesson in Assumptions - Mary Williams Walsh, New York Times, 12/11/2003
There are ways US companies can kind of game the system, to contribute a lot less money to their pension funds than is realistic.

Climbdown on pensions hailed - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 11/11/2003
Maersk unexpectedly reversed its hardline stance against paying all promised retirement benefits in full.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Rolls Royce - Lex, Financial Times, 06/11/2003
If the market recovery stalls, investors might also find that they have sidelined the pension issue too early.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


New rules could deepen company pensions shortfall - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 04/11/2003
UK companies are facing a new, more stringent measure of their pension liabilities that could raise the estimates of the nation's retirement savings shortfall by 20 per cent.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


There's still a place for equities in pensions - William MacDougall, Financial Times FTfm, 03/11/2003
"Despite short-term risks, shares offer an excellent hedge against inflation, in the long run minimising funding costs and maximising pension fund values."

How Boots led the way from shares to bonds - John Ralfe, The Sunday Times, 02/11/2003
The apparent success of defined-benefit pension schemes has been based on the illusion that the expected long-term outperformance of equities over bonds reduces pension costs.

Pension funds and value-based generational accounting - Eduard H. M. Ponds, PEF, 02/11/2003
The raison d’eˆ tre of wage-indexed defined benefit pension funds is to provide insurance against standard-of-living risk after retirement, based on intergenerational risk sharing. Pension funds necessarily have to accept mismatch risk in providing this kind of insurance.

Air Canada’s pension albatross - Editorial, Financial Post Toronto, 28/10/2003
The pension liability is really the product of flawed pension concepts that were all in vogue during Air Canada's corporate expansions.

The world has moved on, so should pension funds - John Ralfe, FTfm, 26/10/2003
Boots reminded everyone of the self-evident truth forgotten in recent years: the job of the pension fund is to pay pensions.

Pensions facing a domino effect - John Ralfe, Daily Mail, 20/10/2003
The Labour Government has increased the likelihood of workers losing their pensions by gradually weakening pension fund regulation.

The hunt for better returns - Janet Kersnar, CFO Europe, 18/10/2003
Interview with John Ralfe on the second anniversary of Boots' pension announcement

Why are we weighting? - Barry Riley, Financial Times, 13/10/2003
It appears that the old, comfortable world of peer group emulation has disappeared, and the new buzz phrase is "scheme specific".
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


States Risk Bigger Losses to Fund Pensions - Mary Williams Walsh, New York Times, 12/10/2003
Many state and local governments, facing ballooning pension promises to police officers, firefighters, teachers and other public employees, are rushing to sell bonds to cover the shortfall.

The hidden risks of the Treasury's equity exposure - John Ralfe, Financial Times Comment & Analysis, 01/10/2003
The scale of the British government's investment through pension fund assets is staggering- a quarter of the largest 100 pension funds are backed by either central or local government.

Changes Discussed in Accounting for Pension Fund Obligations - Mary Williams Walsh, New York Times, 25/09/2003
The board that writes accounting rules for American business discussed changes yesterday that could wipe out much of the financial incentive for companies to convert to cash-balance pension plans.

Senate Panel Votes to Give Pension Relief to Companies - Mary Williams Walsh, New York Times, 18/09/2003
The Senate Finance Committee voted yesterday to give companies a break on their pension requirements, which would save them about $60 billion over the next three years, according to a new government analysis.

Company pension funds - Lex, Financial Times, 15/09/2003
There is a strong case for company pension funds to be concentrated in long-term fixed income assets.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Equity turn-around papers over cracks - Barry Riley, Financial News, 08/09/2003
The prayers offered up by UK pension fund trustees last winter have been answered. But the weaknesses have been temporarily patched over rather than cured.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


UBS tells pension funds to avoid equities - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 05/09/2003
Pension funds should consider not investing in equities at all, according to a controversial report from highly rated analysts at UBS that contradicts the conventional wisdom followed by most US and UK pension funds over the past 40 years.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


The macro-economics of pensions - Adair Turner, Financial Times, 02/09/2003
Lecture to the Actuarial Profession

The Effect of Managerial Bonus Plans on Corporate Derivatives Usage - Young Sang Kim, Jouahn Nam & John H. Thornton Jr., Financial Management Association, 02/09/2003
“Over the past few years I have become increasingly convinced that one of the greatest incentives to hedge is to meet preset budgets so that management can collect their bonuses.” John Ralfe, Boots Company

How not to seize the moment in pensions - John Plender, Financial Times, 01/09/2003
An actuarial trap for the unwary. Since the dark days of March, equities are up and bonds are down. Is this the moment for the many pension funds that are over-exposed to equities to evacuate into fixed interest?
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE
See RBC Capital Markets Note "Corporate Pensions: The Case of BT Group and General Motors" August 2003


Pension Policy at the Boots Co. PLC - Luis M. Viceira & Akiko M. Mitsui , Harvard Business School Case Study, 27/08/2003
In early 2000, the trustees of the pension scheme at Boots considered a proposal to move 100% of the pension assets into a bond portfolio, which would be passively managed.

Equities still beat bonds - William MacDougall, Wall Street Journal, 25/08/2003
Before Ross Goobey came along everyone assumed czarist railway bonds were a nice, safe place to be.

Corporate Pensions: The Case of BT Group and General Motors - John Ralfe, RBC Capital Markets Open Forum Notes 1, 18/08/2003
This looks at biggest UK & US pension funds: BT Group in the UK, with £30bn of pension liabilities and General Motors in the US, with pension and healthcare liabilities of $150bn.

Accounting for Pensions Survey 2003 - Lane, Clark & Peacock, Lane, Clark & Peacock, 12/08/2003
Survey of FTSE FRS 17 position in July 2003

NHS pensions bill soars to £100bn - Antonia Senior, The Times, 09/08/2003
Taxpayers face a £100 billion bill to cover the cost of pensions owed to 1.3 million workers within the National Health Service, new figures will reveal in November.

Sharp jolt for managers - Philip Coggan, Financial Times, 09/08/2003
If you know how to pick stocks, the world will beat a path to your door.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Paying the price of pension mistakes - Patience Wheatcroft, The Times, 05/08/2003
BY THE end of 2002, Boots was the only company in the FTSE 100 index not to have a deficit on its pension fund.

Britain's least favourite pension plan - John Ralfe, Financial Times Comment and analysis, 01/08/2003
The recent strike action by BA's employees may have endangered the pensions of some of its 100,000 pension scheme members.

Piling cash into the deep, dark pension hole - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 30/07/2003
Decades of unfunded pension promises from employers have finally been given a price tag.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Arcane actuarial science widens political divide over pensions - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 29/07/2003
That actuarial practices should be the subject of a congressional spat is only one measure of the widening political divide over occupational pension provision in the US.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Pensions - Lombard (Philip Coggan), Financial Times, 29/07/2003
The full costs of the pensions crisis are becoming clear.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


New Rules Urged to Avert Looming Pension Crisis - Mary Williams Walsh, New York Times, 28/07/2003
Top government officials have begun a calibrated campaign to bring attention to corporate pension plans, which they say may be on a road to collapse.

The CBI dog didn't bark - John Plender, Financial Times, 28/07/2003
Andrew Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has been so widely condemned for his complacency over the disintegration of the UK pension system that I am surprised so few people have noticed his change of spots.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


GONE but not forgotten - Martin Waller, The Times, 25/07/2003
Chairman John McGrath grated:"The person you have referred to has obtained an enormous amount of personal publicity, which I'm sure has helped him in his new career."

Japan: Recovery ’at risk from pensions shortfall’ - David Ibison, Financial Times, 16/07/2003
Japan's top 300 companies have pensions shortfalls totalling Y23,000bn ($196bn),
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Pension plan is a delaying ploy rather than a solution - Andrew Balls, Financial Times, 15/07/2003
Proposals by the US administration to change the way companies measure their pension liabilities will be watched carefully by investors who have become increasingly concerned about pension black holes.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


BBC's no-nonsense approach to FRS17 - Patience Wheatcroft, The Times, 10/07/2003
It is surely right that companies should be forced to confront the pension picture as it is rather than as it might be.

How actuaries missed stock risks - Terence Corcoran, National Post (Canada), 07/07/2003
4 part analysis, in Canada's National Post, of the impact of actuarial fallacies on investment

Who’s to blame for the big hole in many pension funds? - Tamsin Booth, The Economist, 03/07/2003
Assets of corporate and public pension funds and endowment funds in America together fell in value by just over $1 trillion between 2000 and 2002, according to Greenwich Associates.

Pension pain: Who's to blame? - The Economist, The Economist, 03/07/2003
Fund managers invest money for two kinds of customer: the retail business, which serves individuals, and the pension funds and endowments (for bodies such as universities and charities), known as institutional clients.

GM succeeds where Marx failed - John Plender, Financial Times, 30/06/2003
Last week's $13.6bn bond raising by General Motors was a remarkable coup for the world's leading motor manufacturer.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Hidden volatility deters institutions - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 25/06/2003
The detractions of equities and bonds have turned the spotlight on property, an asset class largely shunned by big European investors such as UK pension funds since the early 1990s highlighted its illiquidity.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


The Great Controversy - Vancouver conference Papers, The Society of Actuaries (US), 23/06/2003
"The Great Controversy: Current Pension Actuarial Practice in Light of Financial Economics" Symposium Vancouver June 2003

Why Hold Equities in the Pension Fund? - John Ralfe, Cliff Speed and Jon Palin, Society of Actuaries (US), 23/06/2003
The Great Controversy: Current Pension Actuarial Practice in Light of Financial Economics Symposium Vancouver June 2003

GM in $10bn offering to close pension fund hole plus lex - James Mackintosh & Adrienne Roberts, Financial Times, 21/06/2003
General Motors, the US carmaker, laid out plans on Friday to raise $10bn from the debt markets to fund the gaping hole in its pension fund.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


The Illinois gamble - The Economist, The Economist, 19/06/2003
Impressive stuff, given that Illinois has a $5 billion budget deficit and a $35 billion pension shortfall, the biggest of any American state.

FT primer: the problem with US pensions - Lauren Foster, Financial Times, 16/06/2003
World stock market declines and historically low interest rates are putting the pressure on underfunded pension plans at major US corporations.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Savings security can create "moral hazard" - Alex Jolliffe, Financial Times, 14/06/2003
Steven Kandarian of the PBGC represents security in retirement for thousands of US pension savers.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Safety net for staff of both bust and solvent employers - Nicholas Timmins, Financial Times, 12/06/2003
Solvent employers that wind up pension schemes will have to meet the promises they have made in full, Andrew Smith, the work and pensions secretary, announced yesterday.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Attending to long-term health of pensions - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 10/06/2003
Many of the greatest challenges to the long-term health of the PBGC are political. The US government agency that insures occupational pensions is considering switching equity investments into bonds, reflecting the growing awareness of the risk with shares.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Quiz a trustee - John Plender, Financial Times, 09/06/2003
Should the weakening of the BT corporate covenant in recent years not have led to an earlier reorientation of the portfolio towards lower risk investments?
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Overhaul, from Boots-straps up - Patience Wheatcroft, The Times, 06/06/2003
Selling the pension fund's equities at the top of the market was certainly the cleverest thing that Boots did in the last five years.

Pointing Boots towards the right direction - Philip Coggan, Financial Times, 06/06/2003
And one strategic move has been a definite success. The company's decision to switch its pension fund assets from equities to bonds has worked well.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Poor pension insurance is worse than none - John Ralfe, Financial Times Comment and analysis, 05/06/2003
What can be done to help pension scheme members who lose their promised pension when their employer goes bust? The obvious unfairness of such cases has prompted calls for Britain to set up a compulsory pension insurance system to protect individual member

Alstom's dilemma gives a case for safety first - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 03/06/2003
The dilemma facing Alstom's trustees illustrates the reasons why the government is likely to face growing demands for some sort of pension insurance.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Fixing pensions - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 03/06/2003
That senior British civil servants would be dispatched to take a close look at how a giant pension insurance scheme works in the US would have been unthinkable, even a year ago.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Move for compulsory insurance for pensions - Norma Cohen & Krishna Guha, Financial Times, 03/06/2003
Proposals for a compulsory insurance scheme for final salary pensions are being drawn up by a team of senior civil servants as pressure mounts on the government to provide a safety net for workers whose pension schemes do not have enough money to pay all pensions.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


"Death of Equity" Ralfe starts own firm - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 03/06/2003
John Ralfe, the former head of corporate finance at Boots the Chemist who signalled the "death of equity" with his now famous conversion of the company's entire £2.4bn scheme to bond investment, has set up a consulting firm specialising in pensions.


Insurance "will not be safety net for pensions" - Norma Cohen, Financial Times Website, 29/05/2003
A voluntary programme under which employers could insure their pension schemes against shortfalls if they are wound up is rife with "moral hazards" & will not make UK pension schemes any safer, says leading pension expert.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Worrying 'bout my generation - Barry Riley, Financial Times, 28/05/2003
Legacies used to be regarded as valuable windfalls, but today's "legacy companies" are dogged expensively by their pasts.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


GM hints at boon in pensions reform - James Mackintosh, Financial Times, 26/05/2003
General Motors could save $1bn-$2bn in pension contributions next year if a planned law under consideration in the US is approved.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Memo to Blair: stop delaying over pensions - Jeff Prestridge, Mail on Sunday, 25/05/2003
Pensions dominated the financial headlines over the past week, yet again.

" Companies must repay pension funds" - Keith Green, Financial Times Letters, 24/05/2003
The conclusion of Philip Coggan's Long View (May 10-11) seems to be that the true cost of pensions has only recently come to light with the end of the bull market.

Call for safety net to protect workers when schemes close - Antonia Senior, The Times, 24/05/2003
Terry Faulkner, the new chairman of the National Association of Pension Funds, urged the Government yesterday to set up a safety net to protect the savings of members of underfunded schemes.

Pension deficits pile on the agony for corporate earnings - Jeremy Warner, The Independent, 23/05/2003
British Telecom's pension fund deficit was variously reported by the company yesterday as £1.4bn, £2.1bn and £6.3bn.

Minister has been pensioned off - Patience Wheatcroft, The Times, 23/05/2003
If the Government still had the slightest doubt about the scale of the pension problem, yesterday should have removed it.

BT pension fund valuations fall short of making sense - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 23/05/2003
BT Group yesterday unveiled three different calculations of the shortfall in its pension scheme, neatly illustrating why there is a controversy over how to measure assets and liabilities.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Treatment of Pension Plans in a Corporate Valuation - Lawrence N. Bader, Financial Analysts Journal, 20/05/2003
Through the 1990's pension plans, feasting on the U.S. bull market gave their corporate sponsors extended contribution holidays and earnings boosts. Written by a US practicing actuary.

BT has £7bn pensions black hole - Clayton Hirst, Independent on Sunday, 18/05/2003
BT is expected to reveal a £7bn black hole in its pension fund on Thursday - the largest deficit in British corporate history.

Move to force "health warnings" on pension plans - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 17/05/2003
Ministers are considering proposals to require company pension documents to carry ""health warnings"", telling members when there is not enough money in schemes and alerting them that they may get lower benefits than promised.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Improving safety may hit returns - Barry Riley, Financial Times, 17/05/2003
Four men were arrested last month in connection with the alleged misappropriation of Pounds 2.9m from the pension fund of CW Cheney & Sons, a small Birmingham company.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Boots unlikely to move fund back to equities - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 13/05/2003
Boots' pension fund has ruled out speculation that it might move back into equities from its current position of 100 per cent long-dated AAA fixed and inflation-linked bonds.

Workers "left without pensions" - BBC Scotland, Website, 12/05/2003
Employees of a Scottish engineering firm could be left without a pension after their employer went into receivership with a massive hole in its final salary scheme.

Return of tactical allocation - Barry Riley, Financial Times, 12/05/2003
The investment industry has a class problem. The two main asset classes, equities and bonds, have swung wildly against each other.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Lethal convention - Philip Coggan, Financial Times, 10/05/2003
It was probably not as lively an occasion as prime minister's question time. The UK's actuaries assembled this week to debate the thorny question of the relationship between pension fund assets and liabilities.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Bulls, pensions and over-optimism - Philip Coggan, Financial Times, 09/05/2003
Ask most investors to think of a prominent equity bull and they will probably name Abby Joseph Cohen, the Goldman Sachs strategist.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Actuaries issue bluntest pensions warning - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 09/05/2003
Pension scheme members are wrong to believe that they will receive all promised benefits upon retirement, leading advisers have warned.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Nest eggs without the yolk - , The Economist, 08/05/2003
Policymakers in America and Britain used to be rather smug about their pension systems. They had shifted much of the burden of providing for people?s retirement off the state and on to the private sector, they crowed, while in most countries in continenta

How's your pension doing? - The Economist, The Economist, 08/05/2003
Old age used to be a time of poverty. When people could no longer earn, they had to rely on their family to care for them. Then in the 1880s along came Germany's Otto von Bismarck with the splendid notion that the state should provide pensions.

Boots pension fund still avoiding equities - Stephanie Kirchgaessner, Financial Times, 06/05/2003
The Boots pension fund has ruled out mounting speculation that it plans to re-start buying equities after its landmark decision to switch its investments into bonds.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Note on the relationship between pension assets and liabilities - C.Speed, D.Bowie, J.Exley, M. Jones, R. Mounce, N.Ralston, A Spiers, H. Williams Staple Inn Actuarial Society, 06/05/2003
Actuarial Profession Working Party set up after Myners' Review on contents of briefing document to trustees

Submission on the relationship between pension assets & liabilit - John Hill, Staple Inn Actuarial Society, 06/05/2003
Dissenting view on Actuarial Profession Working Party set up after Myners? Review on contents of briefing document to trustees

Industry split over the potential in equities - Joanne Hart & Xan Rice, The Times, 02/05/2003
Industry split over the potential in equities. How others in the sector see the future for shares.

A case for equities, but not yet - Patience Wheatcroft, The Times, 02/05/2003
IT IS too soon to read the last rites over the cult of the equity. Although AMP's decision to bale out of shares was instantly greeted in some quarters as a move that others will follow, the stock market itself did not signal imminent expiry.

Faith in trustees - John Watson, Professional Pensions, 01/05/2003
Letter from Chairman of Boots' Trustees

Alchemy cuts pensions - Robert Lindsay, Daily Express, 30/04/2003
Venture capital firm Alchemy has cut 130 workers at car parts maker Wardle Storeys out of their final salary pension scheme leaving them with what is likely to be a quarter of the retirement pay they expected.

Statement - Steven A. Kandarian, US House of Representatives, 30/04/2003
Statement of Steven A Kandarian, Executive Director Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Before the House of Representatives Subcommittee April 30, 2003

Willetts attacks pension spending forecast - Nicholas Timmins, Financial Times, 29/04/2003
Official projections that the UK will continue to spend only about 5 per cent of its gross domestic product on state pensions over the next 50 years are "simply incredible",the Conservatives' pension spokesman warned.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Boots poised for switch into equities - Ben Wright, Financial News, 28/04/2003
The departure of Michael Bunting, group treasurer of Boots, the UK retail chemist, has prompted speculation that the company's pension fund will reconsider investing in equities.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


US heads for UK-style accounting rule - Andrew Parker and Andrew Hill, Financial Times, 23/04/2003
The US is heading towards adoption of UK-style pensions accounting as part of efforts to achieve convergence with international financial reporting rules.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


"The real cause of pension deficits" - K R Cooper, Financial Times Letters, 22/04/2003
Tony Jackson is too generous in suggesting that the huge pension deficit faced by Invensys is outside the control of its management and just a matter of bad luck.

Firms stoking up pensions fears - Ruth Sunderland, Daily Mail, 22/04/2003
THE crisis over pensions is likely to turn out even worse than first thought as leading companies stand accused of making unrealistic forecasts about future stock market income.

FASB chairman tackles the spider’s web - Andrew Hill and Andrew Parker, Financial Times, 21/04/2003
Robert Herz looks like a man who is hard to budge, but when he decides to do something, he has proved - by the standards of accounting rule makers, at least - surprisingly speedy.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Accounting for retirement - Editorial, Financial Times, 21/04/2003
Enron has become a byword for dishonest accounting. But a bigger and far more widespread scandal is beginning to emerge.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


UK pension funds boost equity return forecasts - Ben Wright and Alistair Graham, Financial News, 21/04/2003
Almost half the UK's top companies have raised estimates of future equity returns for their pension schemes despite market uncertainty and the crisis in the pension fund industry, according to research by Financial News.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


US heads for UK-style accounting rule - Andrew Parker & Andrew Hill, New York Financial Times, 17/04/2003
The US is heading towards adoption of UK-style pensions accounting as part of efforts to achieve convergence with international financial reporting rules.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


US pension plans fall into deficit - Elizabeth Wine, Financial Times, 17/04/2003
The 100 biggest US corporate pension plans have fallen into a deficit of $157bn from a surplus of $183bn in 2000, says Milliman USA, a benefits consulting firm.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Everyone shares the blame for pensions problems - John Shuttleworth, Financial Times Comment and analysis, 15/04/2003
Who is to blame for the dramatic fall in funding levels in the past three years?

Boots buys shares again - The Motley Fool, Website, 14/04/2003
Speculation that Boots might move back to shares is a "bullish sign for stock market investors".

Boots ponders pensions switch - Lisa Buckingham, Mail on Sunday, 13/04/2003
Boots is understood to be considering switching part of its £2.5 billion pension scheme back into shares - less than 18 months after it became the first British corporation to put its entire retirement fund into bonds.

Pensions join bankruptcy pecking order - Aline van Duyn, Financial Times, 09/04/2003
Bond investors have learnt many tough lessons in the past two years, the worst in history in terms of defaults and downgrades.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Picking up the tab - Lex, Financial Times, 07/04/2003
Corporate pension schemes are one of the few areas of consumer finance beyond the reach of the UK's Financial Services Authority.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


LGIM still building for growth - Simon Targett, Financial Times FTfm, 07/04/2003
The UK's biggest pension fund manager saw a 22 per cent increase in profits in 2002. Tim Breedon, chief executive, explains his three-year strategy.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


"Blind rage over pensions" - Geoffrey Wilson & Ros Altman (2 letters), Financial Times Letters, 04/04/2003
Mr David Starkie rightly identifies the issues for public service pay and pensions arising from financial market conditions in the last few years.

Time to find a new weighing machine? - Christopher Fildes, The Daily Telegraph, 02/04/2003
Winston Churchill was an actuary's nightmare. He ran every risk, disobeyed every rule, and lived to be 90.

PBGC Becomes Trustee of US Airways Pension Plan for Pilot - Randy Clerihue, Gary Pastorius, Jeffrey Speicher, PBGC Press Release, 01/04/2003
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) today announced that it has become trustee of US Airways pension plan for pilots and will assume responsibility for paying pension benefits to more than 6,000 pilots.

Fears over pension funding escalate - Lea Paterson, The Times, 01/04/2003
THE funding crisis facing UK pension schemes could escalate even if stock markets do not fall again, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said yesterday.

Losers of the pensions lottery - Martin Wolf, Financial Times, 31/03/2003
If you are in receipt of - or confidently expecting - an index-linked pension, based on final salary, you are a winner in the British pension lottery. But a lottery in which everybody wins is a contradiction in terms. This one is no exception.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Expert View: Pension shortfalls need Black magic - Dr. Bill Robinson, Independent on Sunday, 30/03/2003
What exactly are these pension fund deficits that have been in the news recently, and what can be done about them?
See Fischer Black article "The Tax Consequences of Long-Run Pensions Policy" 1980


Xansa staff`s pension puzzle - Robert Lindsay, Daily Express, 28/03/2003
A Gaping pension black hole at IT outsourcer Xansa is presenting 200 former Boots staff with a dilemma.

Massages fail to relieve the tension - Susanna Voyle, Financial Times, 28/03/2003
John McGrath could probably do with a soothing massage this morning. The Boots chairman had to spend most of yesterday explaining to the City the latest strategic about-turn at the high street chemist chain.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


US pension funds face $5bn loss - Julie Earle, Financial Times, 24/03/2003
The largest US corporate pension funds lost an average of $5bn (?3.2bn) each last year, according to a new report by Greenwich Associates, the consultancy.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Market worries when the war is over - John Plender, Financial Times, 24/03/2003
Soggy economies, funny numbers If equity markets bounced when war in Iraq was finally deemed inevitable, will they flop if an early end to the war is in sight?
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Pensions switch pioneer sets up consultancy - Tony Tassell, Financial Times, 24/03/2003
John Ralfe, who shook up the UK pension industry when he led a switch by Boots' pension fund out of equities into bonds, has set up his own independent consulting company.

Pensions need in-house strength - Mike Foster, Financial News, 24/03/2003
Amid all the Higgs-inspired talk of boosting non-executive representation on corporate boards, the need for greater executive involvement in pension scheme management has been sadly overlooked.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


The drugstore maverick - Tony Tassell, Financial Times, 24/03/2003
John Ralfe has been called many things. Rogue outsider, an evangelist driven by dangerous ideology and the bκte noire of equities are among the labels critics have sought to pin on him.

Pension deficit puts heat on Aga - Jonathan Guthrie, Financial Times, 22/03/2003
AGA Foodservice, maker of classic iron cooker ranges beloved of country types, admitted yesterday it was struggling with a less-welcome historic inheritance in the form of a large pension fund deficit.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


In search of those elusive returns - The Economist, The Economist, 22/03/2003
Despite this week's stockmarket rally, tumbling equity prices and bond yields have sparked a fierce debate over asset allocation

Sharing the pensions pain - Patience Wheatcroft, The Times, 21/03/2003
The prospect of an extra two years hard labour has not gone down well with the workers at Honda. They are, however, only being asked to face the grim reality of what the phrase "pensions crisis" really means.

BP pensions - Lombard (Philip Coggan), Financial Times, 20/03/2003
If anyone wants an idea of the sheer scale of damage that pension fund movements can do to a balance sheet, they need only look at BP's report and accounts.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Weir figures marred by jump in pension deficit - John Kipphoff, Financial Times, 20/03/2003
A solid operational performance at Weir Group last year was overshadowed yesterday by news that the engineering services group's pension fund deficit had jumped significantly.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


BMW confident of maintaining retirement fund for UK workers - Tony Tassell, Financial Times, 20/03/2003
BMW should be able to maintain final salary pensions for its British workers because it avoided the disastrous share investments that have crippled other companies' pension funds, the German luxury carmaker said yesterday.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Valuing the Earnings Effect of Defined Benefit Pension Plans - Julia Lynn Coronado & Steven A. Sharpe, Brookings Panel on Economic Activity, 20/03/2003
In the late 1990s the portfolios of defined benefit (DB) pension plans boomed with the broader stock market.

Pension crisis gathers pace - Aline van Duyn, Financial Times, 19/03/2003
Ten European companies have been identified by analysts as facing a ""medium to high"" risk of credit rating downgrades because of rising pension fund deficits.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


UK awakes from its pensions dream - Martin Wolf, Financial Times, 17/03/2003
The British middle classes used to believe their pensions were safer than those of continental Europeans, mired in state pay-as-you-go schemes. Three years of collapsing equity markets have brought a brutal awakening.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Arguing Against Equities - Mary Williams Walsh, New York Times, 17/03/2003
The stock bubble has burst, and then some. But even amid the wreckage, the conventional mantra has continued: stocks are still the long-haul key to preparing for financial security in retirement.

Taxpayers will pick up bill for £30bn council pension shortfall - Christine Sieb & Antonia Senior, The Times, 15/03/2003
Taxpayers will be forced to pick up the bill for a £30 billion black hole in local authority pension schemes, pensions experts said yesterday.

No quick fix for markets - Patience Wheatcroft, The Times, 14/03/2003
Ratings agencies catch up with the news eventually. Standard & Poors has noticed that the prospects for corporate Europe look somewhat rocky

The real culprits in the pensions crisis - John Kay, Financial Times, 13/03/2003
The European Financial Services Round Table has drawn attention again to Europe's ""pension bomb"".

Statement of Steven A.Kandarian March 11 2003 PBGC - Steven A Kandarian, COMMITTEE ON FINANCE UNITED STATES SENATE, 11/03/2003
Statement of Steven A Kandarian, Executive Director Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Before the Committee on Finance US Senate March 11 2003

"No honey left in the pot" - Peter Thompson, Financial Times Letters, 11/03/2003
You say in your editorial ""Goode sense on pensions"" that employers should not renege on their pension obligations.

Quashing the pension fund scare stories - Alastair Ross Goobey, Financial Times, 10/03/2003
I have become increasingly frustrated with the level of discussion about pension funds and the position of equities within their portfolios.

A sting in the tail: pension treatment may be strict - Norma Cohen & Andrew Parker, Financial Times.com, 09/03/2003
In Britain, many companies are issuing alarming figures showing deficits in their pension funds. The sobering financial transparency provided to UK employees may soon spread to other countries.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Fool's gold? - Ian Fraser, Sunday Herald, 09/03/2003
Barely a month goes by in which the nation's pensions crisis is not exacerbated by news of another blue-chip company scheme on the brink of collapse. So, asks Ian Fraser, what is the prospect for these companies and their employees?

The £85bn question - Philip Coggan, Financial Times, 07/03/2003
As pensioners live longer and investment returns fall, companies are being forced to find new ways to honour promises to compensate long-serving employees.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Goode sense on pensions - Leader, Financial Times, 06/03/2003
Occupational pension entitlements are commitments made by employers to their employees. Employers should not renege on such obligations, which form part of employees' contracts of employment.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Pensions - Hansard, House of Lords Debate, 05/03/2003
Lord Fowler rose to call attention to the Green Paper on saving for retirement (Cm. 5677) and to the promotion of adequate pension provision in the United Kingdom; and to move for Papers.

Pain of ending pension holiday - Patience Wheatcroft, The Times, 05/03/2003
Most of us love a holiday but we know that we have to work to earn it and that we must come back to work once it is over.

Employee benefits Convergence topics - International Accounting Standards Committee Foundation, IASB, 04/03/2003
In June 2002, the Board agreed to add a limited convergence project on postemployment benefits to its active agenda. The objective of the project is not to consider all aspects of accounting for post-employment benefits.

A vintage perspective on greed, risk & fear - John Plender, Financial Times, 03/03/2003
The publication of Barclays' annual study of returns on equities and gilts from 1899 is a reminder that there are still people in the much criticised investment banking fraternity capable of superb research.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Pension law "fails to protect employees" - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 03/03/2003
Pensions law fails to protect employees and needs to be overhauled, says Sir Roy Goode the Oxford University professor who supervised the overhaul of pensions law after the death of Robert Maxwell.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


A challenge to the equity cult - John Ralfe, Financial Times Money, 01/03/2003
It is just over a year since boring Boots shocked the pensions world by switching all of its £2.3bn pension scheme from equities into long-dated matching bonds - challenging the cult of the equity head-on.

FRS17 - An Equity Analyst's Perspective - John Pearson, The Actuary Magazine, 01/03/2003
John Pearson of Merrill Lynch discusses FRS17.

For the last time: stock options are an expense - Zvi Bodie, Robert S. Kaplan & Robert C. Merton, Harvard Business Review, 01/03/2003
Harvard Business Review article by three leading US academics on accounting for stock/ share options

Actuaries split on pension funds - Tony Tassell, Financial Times, 27/02/2003
The actuarial industry is set to launch two initiatives in an attempt to resolve mounting disarray within its ranks over how to assess the health of pension funds.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Confronting the pensions crisis - Andrew Verity, BBC Personal Finance, 27/02/2003
Behind the crisis in company pensions there is a massive gap opening up between what pension schemes have in their coffers, and what they will need to pay out to their members.

Equities or bonds? The Great Debate - Barclays, Barclays, 27/02/2003
For the third straight year in a row, fixed income securities proved to be a better investment than shares, according to the Barclays Equity Gilt Study.

"Irony in accusations of optimism" - Paul Thornton, Financial Times Letters, 25/02/2003
Sir, Actuaries are currently being criticised for being too optimistic about the expected future returns on equities.

Warning on supervision of pension funds - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 25/02/2003
The overseeing of employee pensions in the UK is so poor that it is likely to be a matter of time before a large company scheme collapses, a pensions conference will hear tomorrow.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


UK pension schemes claim to be in line with Myners - Mike Foster, Financial News, 25/02/2003
Of more than 100 UK pension schemes surveyed by the UK?s National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), 40% of have said they were already complying with the Myners recommendations on institutional investment practice prior to their publication.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


BBC News at 10 - Presented by Jenny Scott, BBC 10 o’clock News, 25/02/2003
Piece on JER comments on pension schemes

Pensions of sin - Jane Fuller, Financial Times, 24/02/2003
The past week has brought several more reminders of trouble brewing in one of the few consumer finance areas beyond the FSA's remit: company pension schemes.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Exit pursued by a bear - Barry Riley, Financial Times, 24/02/2003
The good news is, declining share prices are presenting ever better value for the long-term investor. The bad new is, markets may have further to fall.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Actuaries' fury over £92bn hole - Robert Lindsay, Daily Express, 22/02/2003
Leading actuary Watson Wyatt publicly defended itself for the first time yesterday - it was not to blame for the pensions crisis as the black hole in company plans was raised to £92billion.

Men at war over pensions - Robert Lindsay, Daily Express, 21/02/2003
As huge black holes open up in the final-salary pension schemes ot thousands of workers, the normally cloistered world of the actuary is coming under an intense spotlight, with the profession splitting itself apart in a bitter row over who is to blame.

UK FTSE 250 Pensions - Steve Cooper & Gillian Sutherland, UBS Warburg, 21/02/2003
FRS 17 funding position for FTSE 250 companies

"A divided profession" - Roger Parkin, Financial Times Letters, 20/02/2003
Sir, John Plender is right to point out the shortcomings of actuarial valuation methods that appear to second-guess the market.

Actuaries and the great pensions divide - Andrew Parker and Tony Tassell, Financial Times, 20/02/2003
Falling equity markets have seen a raft of pension funds fall into the red. But there is a growing divide of opinion over the extent of the problem and how to measure pension fund deficits.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Pension plans - Leader, Financial Times, 19/02/2003
With pension fund deficits soaring, most private sector final-salary schemes have been closed to new members. Now Mercer, an employment consultancy, has warned that companies will soon have to cut pensions sharply or close schemes altogether.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


"BT actuaries caught in a parallel world" - KR Cooper, Financial Times Letters, 18/02/2003
Do BT Group and its actuaries inhabit a parallel world in which the FTSE is still at 6,000?

"BT's valuation method is a proper one" - Jeremy Goford and Tom Ross, Financial Times Letters, 17/02/2003
The comment from Peter Tompkins at the Institute of Actuaries, ... has unfortunately created the incorrect impression that the health of the BT pension scheme may have been improperly aassessed by the use of an ""antiquated"" valuation method.

Actuarial antiquarians out of touch with risk - John Plender, Financial Times, 17/02/2003
Actuarial antiquarians out of touch with risk: But still sold on moonshine. The actuarial profession is in total disarray on the rather important issue of how to value a pension fund.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


BT pensions - Lombard (Martin Dickson), Financial Times, 14/02/2003
How serious is BT's underfunded pensions problem & is the company in denial? It is hard to say with confidence because of the opacity that surrounds the issue & continuing argument among companies & actuaries over the best way to measure pension deficits.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


BT accused of understating problems in pension fund - Tony Tassell and Robert Budden, Financial Times, 14/02/2003
BT Group faced criticism yesterday that it was understating the extent of its pension fund problems after it disclosed actuarial forecasts that it would not have to increase cash injections into the scheme.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


BT pension fund takes centre stage - Tony Tassell and Robert Budden, Financial Times, 13/02/2003
When BT Group reported third-quarter earnings on Thursday, the focus of the market was not so much its revenues but the state of its pension fund.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Discount them at your peril - The Economist, The Economist, 13/02/2003
A dispute over details worth billions to companies' pension funding. For a measure of corporate America's pension-fund problems, look no further than the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).

Pilkington persuades S&P on pensions - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 13/02/2003
Pilkington, the glassmaker, has persuaded Standard & Poor's, the credit rating agency, that it has no deficit in its UK pension scheme.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


The hidden borrowings creep out - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 10/02/2003
When Standard & Poor's said it was reviewing the credit ratings of 12 of Europe's largest companies, the debt rating agency spelled out that pension shortfalls are just another form of corporate borrowings.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


A new pensions clamp on corporate strategy - John Plender, Financial Times, 10/02/2003
At the start of this year it was far from clear that stock markets on either side of the Atlantic had grasped the importance of burgeoning pension fund deficits for share ratings.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


12 European companies face pensions threat - Aline van Duyn & Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 08/02/2003
Gaping pension scheme holes threaten 12 top European companies, including British blue-chips Rolls-Royce & J Sainsbury, with credit downgrades that would hit the cost of their fund raising.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Analysis: No credit in S & P's action - Robert Cole, The Times, 08/02/2003
An investor looking to earn returns in line with the market average used to have to buy an index tracker or a general investment trust. Nowadays, it seems, all one has to do is to buy shares in any leading company with a big pension fund.

Treasury chief goes in Boots cull - Julia Finch, The Guardian, 03/02/2003
The top-level clear-out at Boots has claimed another scalp - this time the group's head of treasury, Michael Bunting.

Pensions crisis? What pensions crisis? - Sophie Barker, Daily Telegraph, 02/02/2003
Christine Farnish is scarily calm and composed when I enter her office. Not one blonde hair is out of place, her red nails are perfect and she flashes a starlet smile which never seems to droop throughout our chat.

Treasury boss goes in Boots executive cull - Matthew Goodman, Sunday Times Feb 2 2003, 02/02/2003
Boots, the chemist chain, is to part company with another senior executive, the latest of a string of top managers to leave.

Equity Gilt Study 2003 - Tim Bond, Mark Capleton, Fred Cleary & Sreekala Kochugovindan, Barclays Capital, 02/02/2003
“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future.” Nils Bohr

BT Group Extract from third quarter numbers - BT Group, BT Group, 01/02/2003
The triennial BT Pension Scheme Funding Valuation exercise is under way.

Boots & John Ralfe (A very British muddle) - John Shuttleworth, PwC PricewaterhouseCoopers Pensions Bulletin, 01/02/2003
John Ralfe's departure from Boots is a logical moment to assess his contribution to pension investment. [Page 4 of Bulletin]

Pension woes - Leader, Financial Times, 31/01/2003
Wherever you go in the industrialised world, it is difficult to escape stories of crises in pension systems. Unfortunately they are not exaggerated.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Pension funds seek an equity trap exit - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 30/01/2003
The gaping £85bn hole in the pension accounts of the UK's 100 largest companies cannot be easily dismissed.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


UK Pensions and FRS 17 - Stephen Cooper & Gillian Sutherland, UBS Warburg, 30/01/2003
The pain gets worse. A further increase in pension deficits. Recent equity market falls have brought more pain to pension schemes.

UK law cannot fall short on winding up pensions - John Gillum, Financial Times, 27/01/2003
It is essential that the UK government passes legislation that protects the interests of pension fund members when companies wind up their schemes - last year's Green Paper on pensions does not go far enough to ensure this.

IASB to curb inflated pension forecasting - Tony Tassell, Financial Times, 25/01/2003
Tough new international accounting rules could see companies stopped from using over-optimistic forecasts of pension fund asset growth to flatter earnings.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Broke - America's system of insuring private pension plans - The Economist, The Economist, 23/01/2003
THE pension malaise in America worsens. Corporate pension-fund deficits have swollen to some $300 billion, weighing down earnings and forcing companies from General Motors to General Electric to find cash to make up the shortfalls.

Please sir, must I have even less? - John Plender, Financial Times, 18/01/2003
Over the past three years an astonishing $1,730bn has been wiped off the value of pension fund assets across the world.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


UK Pensions: Is It Just Storm in a Teacup? - Harris et al, Morgan Stanley Equity Research Europe, 16/01/2003
UK Pensions: Is It Just Storm in a Teacup?

Statement of Steven A. Kandarian, January 14, 2003 PBGC - Steven A. Kandarian, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, 14/01/2003
Statement of Steven A. Kandarian Executive Director Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation before the Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Committee on Appropriations United States Senate

General Motors warns on US pension costs - FT reporters in New York, Financial Times, 09/01/2003
General Motors warned on Thursday that expenses from its underfunded US pension plan will rise about $2 billion before taxes in 2003, as a result of the impact of the collapse in world stock markets over the past few years.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Pension funds shift to bonds - Sophie Brodie, Financial News, 06/01/2003
Over the past two years, the most radical switch from equities has been made by Boots.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Global Investment Review 2003 - Watson Wyatt, Watson Wyatt Global Investment Review 2003, 01/01/2003
Is there a global pensions crisis? The third edition of Global Investment Review goes to press following a three-year period of falling investment markets and rising costs of liabilities.

Sorry footnote - John Plender, Financial Times, 23/12/2002
John Ralfe, the former head of corporate finance at UK retailer Boots, may have lost his job, but his place as in the history books is secure.

Perils of going against the grain - Barry Riley, Financial Times, 16/12/2002
Defying conventional investment wisdom can be a lonely occupation. John Ralfe abandoned conventional fund manager realtionships.

Pensions supremo walks out at Boots - Ruth Sunderland, Daily Mail, 10/12/2002
John Ralfe, the highly respected Boots' pension fund supremo, is leaving the retailer after a dispute with new finance director Howard Dodd.

Ralfe quits Boots - Alistair Graham, Financial News, 09/12/2002
John Ralfe, the Boots head of corporate finance who pioneered the recent shift into fixed-income investments by UK pension funds, has left the company suddenly.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Author of Boots pension shift departs - Tony Tassell, Financial Times, 07/12/2002
John Ralfe, who shook up the UK pension industry when he switched Boots?s pension fund out of equities into bonds, is to leave the retailer.

Boots' Pensions: One Year On - John Ralfe, The Treasurer, 01/12/2002
John Ralfe of Boots provides an update to their pension funds's revolutionary switch from equities to bonds, announced in November 2001.

Green Paper Summary - Department for Work and Pensions, DWP Website, 01/12/2002

Boots revises FRS 17 decision - Alistair Graham, Financial News, 25/11/2002
Boots, the UK retail chemist, has backtracked on plans to adopt early FRS 17, the controversial accounting standard, which the group has publicly championed.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


The loose accounting of leases - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 22/11/2002
Cable and Wireless, the telecommunications provider, this week announced a restructuring plan and, in the process, unveiled some £2.2bn in lease commitments that almost nobody knew about.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


- Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 22/11/2002

John Lewis aims for pension wait - Ruth Sunderland, Daily Mail, 14/11/2002
RETAILER John Lewis is proposing a five-year waiting period before staff can join its free pension scheme.

Boots abandons Pure Beauty in "generational" change - Susanna Voyle, Financial Times, 08/11/2002
Boots yesterday admitted its past financial reporting regime had not been transparent enough as it announced a series of changes under its new finance director.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Bonds switch yields £700m gain for Boots - Tony Tassell, Financial Times, 02/11/2002
The bold decision by the pension fund of Boots to move all its investments into bonds has left it more than £700m better off.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


The world of pension fund accounting - Lombard (Philip Coggan), Financial Times, 31/10/2002
When BP investors have weighty matters like oil production targets and the crude price to consider, they probably do not waste much time considering the minutiae of pension fund accounting.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


IBM Makes Year-End Contribution to U.S. Pension Fund - Business & Technology Editors, Business Wire, 31/10/2002
IBM today announced that it has restored the company's U.S. pension plan to fully funded status, as measured by its accumulated benefit obligation (ABO), through a contribution of cash and stock.

US pensions train risks running out of gravy - Andrew Hill, Financial Times, 27/10/2002
Underfunded pension plans are a slow-moving freight train that has been bearing down on corporate America for months.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Dutch pension rules change - Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 27/10/2002
Dutch companies could be forced to add up to EU15bn ($14.6bn) to their pension schemes annually over the next seven years to comply with new rules from the pension regulator following increasing shortfalls at many pension schemes.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


New Guidelines for Dutch Pension Funds - de Boer et al, Dexia Equity Research, 23/10/2002
Following the disappearing surpluses at pension funds as a result of the falling equity markets, the PVK, the Dutch pension fund watchdog, has set new guidelines in order to secure future pension fund liabilities.

Minister orders action on pension closures - Nicholas Timmins, Financial Times, 22/10/2002
Action to stop solvent companies walking away from pension commitments was ordered yesterday by Andrew Smith, the work and pensions secretary, after it emerged the government had promised legislation on the issue 18 months ago.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


A company pension more lethal than the bear (Maersk) - John Plender, Financial Times, 21/10/2002
Conventional wisdom has it that defined contribution occupational pensions, in which employees shoulder all the investment risk, are a bad thing.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Boots has the last laugh on its doubters - Lisa Buckingham, Mail on Sunday, 20/10/2002
At the time, it was hailed as a bold but foolhardy move. A year ago, Boots disclosed that it had transferred its £2.3 billion pension fund out of the stock market and into bonds.

Bids and pensions - Lombard (Martin Dickson), Financial Times, 18/10/2002
Jacques Vert, the women's wear retailer, launched a takeover bid on Wednesday for... a pension fund. Of course it did not; it actually made an offer for William Baird, the struggling textile manufacturer.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


A forest clearing - Lex, Financial Times, 14/10/2002
Cutting through the forest of pension accounting allowed under US generally accepted accounting principles, to view the economic trees, is not easy.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


What a coup - John Plender, Financial Times, 14/10/2002
There are not many pension funds that can say that the market value of their assets went up last year. So there should not be many pension fund managers who begrudge UK retailer Boots its award last week for running the European pension scheme of the year
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Actuaries tackle the problem of longevity - Robert Bruce, The Times, 13/10/2002
The idea of a company pension is an endearingly uncomplicated one. ""It is a really simple issue,"" says Jon Exley, senior investment consultant with Mercer Investment Consulting. ""You promise a pension and you invest to provide it.""

Adding to the pyramid of risk - Barry Riley, Financial News, 12/10/2002
The usual UK pension scheme mix, with 70% equities, is highly volatile. Near-bankrupt British Energy was last week the latest in a long line of UK companies to reveal holes in its pension fund accounts.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Pension likely to be halved - Pauline Skypala, Financial Times Money, 12/10/2002
Mr Hayter's pension prospects have been savaged by the demise of his employer ASW Sheerness, a steel manufacturer that went into receivership in July
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


They're playing our song - well, maybe - Adam Jay, The Daily Telegraph, 11/10/2002
These Boots Were Made For Walking played when John Ralfe at Boots collected a gong for pension scheme of the year.

Maersk staff left short in new assault on pensions - Nick Timmins & Norma Cohen, Financial Times, 10/10/2002
Workers' pensions rights faced a new attack yesterday when a Danish shipping giant scrapped its UK final salary scheme, leaving members up to 60 per cent short of full benefits.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Lynch mob - NA, The Times, 05/10/2002
Next week sees the first set of Awards for Excellence in Institutional Asset Management. There are ten entrants for European Personality of the Year, to be judged by a panel of 50 pension fund consultants.

Bubble, bubble default trouble - John Plender, Financial Times, 04/10/2002
The most damaging bubbles are those in which stock market exuberance is accompanied by lending euphoria. This was true of the 1920s and of the 1980s Japanese bubble.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


"Bursting a pension funds bubble" - K R Cooper, Financial Times Letters, 02/10/2002
Sir, Lex considers whether equities are ""undervalued"" following recent drastic falls and whether company pension funds should now be buying. This is the wrong question to ask about pension fund asset allocation.

Boots Pension Scheme Trustee Review 2002, plus award - Boots Pension Scheme Trustees, Financial News, 01/10/2002
The Boots Pension Scheme has won the title of "European Pension Scheme of the Year" at the Financial News Awards for Excellence in Institutional Asset Management.

Spare a thought for the Old Lady's pension - John Plender, Financial Times, 30/09/2002
People in high places are unworried about the impact of a plunging equity market on their pensions.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


On the edge of a credibility gap - Lombard (Philip Coggan), Fnancial Times, 30/09/2002
Three years of falling equity prices have finally taken their toll on the US pensions industry. According to UBS Warburg companies in the S&P 500 index are now in cumulative deficit on their pension funds for the first time since 1993.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


US prepares for revolution in accounting standards - NA, Financial Times, 24/09/2002
David Tweedie, the chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board, is at the centre of a revolution in accounting standards.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Pensions: S&P 500 Update - Zhen Deng et al, UBS Warburg, 19/09/2002
Continued equity market weakness has wiped out the pension surplus of the S&P 500. For the first time since 1993, S&P 500 company pensions are in aggregate deficit.

With-profits insurers play down true impact of sharp equity fall - Ned Cazalet, Financial News, 16/09/2002
With-profits insurers play down true impact of sharp equity falls. Shift in underlying assets cancels out purpose of with-profits funds. FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE

The reward of rejecting the cult of equities - John Ralfe, Pensions & Investments US, 16/09/2002
It's been a year since The Boots Co. shocked the UK financial world by announcing its £2.3bn ($3.5bn) pension fund - one of the UK?s 50 largest- had quietly sold all its equities and moved its assets into long-dated AAA/Aaa sterling bonds.

Pension funding in Europe - UBS Steve Cooper et al, UBS, 05/09/2002
We estimate that 63 European companies studied currently have a pension funding deficit of E81bn.

Pensions are in headlong retreat - Barry Riley, Financial News, 02/09/2002
Grim news from the occupational pensions sector cropped up regularly through the dog days of August. Pension schemes ranging from those of British Telecom and Rolls-Royce to John Lewis have reportedly slipped into substantial deficits.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


"How to impose discipline on pension scheme management" - K R Cooper, Financial Times Letters, 02/09/2002
It is indeed disgraceful that a solvent company can wind up its pension fund, leaving members with less than their accrued pension entitlements.

WH Smith Preliminary figures Year to August 31 2002 - WH Smith, WH Smith Annual Report, 31/08/2002
Operating leases In common with other retailers, the Company's stores are held mainly under operating leases, which are not regarded as debt for accounting purposes.

Actuarial tempers running high - Philip Coggan, Financial Times, 24/08/2002
Actuaries, so the old joke runs, are people who decided that accountancy would be too exciting. But this staid profession is split into two camps, with the old guard accused of taking a reckless attitude to pension funding.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Watson Wyatt falls into FRS17 pensions trap - Philip Coggan & Simon Targett, Financial Times, 17/08/2002
It is the parable of the cobblers' shoes all over again. One of the UK?s leading actuarial firms, which makes its living advising companies how to manage their pensions liabilities, has a deficit on its own pension fund.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


UK Pensions - FRS 17. What pension deficit for BT? - Steve Cooper, UBS Warburg, 15/08/2002
There seems to be disagreement over the current level of the BT pension scheme deficit.

Rail industry may end final salary pension schemes - Juliett Jowitt, Financial Times, 14/08/2002
Railway leaders are considering abolishing some final salary pension schemes for new staff after a review that is understood to have found deficits across the UK's sixth-biggest fund.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Just how heavy is the pensions millstone? - Martin Dickson, Financial Times, 12/08/2002
Are stock market prices accurately reflecting the impact on British companies of the pension fund deficits that many are suffering?
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


British employers face pension shortfall - Antonia Senior, The Times, 12/08/2002
British companies face a massive £70 billion shortfall in their pension schemes, according to research released today, far higher than had previously been feared.

Parsons closes pension scheme - Alexander Jolliffe, Financial Times, 09/08/2002
At least 120 employees of Parsons could lose up to half their pension after the engineering group closed its pension scheme with a deficit.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Parsons pensioners fall foul of parent - Patience Wheatcroft, The Times, 09/08/2002
The plight of pensioners of Parsons Group will cause a degree of nervousness in staff canteens around the country. They thought they were working for a vast US and their pensions would be perfectly safe.

The profits squeeze that threatens pensions - Barry Riley, Financial Times, 05/08/2002
In the late 1990s various governments faced with challenging demographic projections had a great idea. The stock markets were booming, so why not persuade their citizens to invest in personal pension funds?
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


BT pension scheme ignores calls to cut back equities - Alastair Graham, Financial News, 29/07/2002
The BT Group pension scheme plans to reduce its investments in bonds and ignore calls to cut back its huge equity portfolio, despite a rising fund deficit and calls to rebalance the maturing plan.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


BT shares fall on concern of pension deficit - Rob Budden, Financial Times, 26/07/2002
BT Group's shares fell 6 per cent to 199p yesterday, briefly touching their lowest levels since January 1991, as investors took little heart from its first-quarter results and expressed concerns about a rising pensions deficit.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


DTI hedge funds - John Plender, Financial Times, 22/07/2002
As the bear market continues, exposure to equities is becoming less fashionable among UK pension funds, just as it is with insurers. But there are still some funds that are heavily exposed, not least in the public sector.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Hard times loom for actuaries - Barry Riley, Financial News, 08/07/2002
The Institute of Actuaries' new president is walking into a minefield.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Boots wants more inflation linked bonds - Alistair Graham, Financial News, 08/07/2002
The pension scheme of UK high street chemist Boots has increased its inflation-linked asset holdings by £150m ($235m) as volatile stock markets continue to plague pension schemes struggling to meet their liabilities.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Market turmoil hits company schemes hard - Pauline Skypala & Tony Tassell, Financial Times, 06/07/2002
It used to be the case that when stock markets tumbled, the evening television news would report the billions wiped off share values. Now the reports are often about how many billions have been struck off pension funds.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Gentlemen Prefer Bonds - Ben Alexander, London Business School, 01/07/2002
This paper analyses the decision of Boots PLC to allocate its entire defined benefit pension fund portfolio to long-dated AAA rated corporate bonds in 2001. Produced as part of MiFFT degree.

Predicting the future - John Shuttleworth (PwC), Accountancy, 01/07/2002
Equities outperformed bonds over the whole of the last century by a princely 5% a year. Will the future be so good?

Restating the matching doctrine - Fennell Betson, Investment & Pensions Europe, 01/07/2002
Last year the £2.3bn ($3.5bn) Boots pension fund rocked the UK pensions world by putting "every last penny" into a long bond portfolio.

Reinventing Pension Actuarial Science - Larry Bader & Jeremy Gold, Website, 01/07/2002
The 1974 passage of ERISA halted the evolution of the actuarial pension model. This frozen model was unable to incorporate the emerging science of financial economics, which in turn revealed fundamental flaws in the model. (See page 26 for John Ralfe)

Small British evacuation from UK equities And non-voting turkeys - John Plender, Financial Times, 24/06/2002
Boots, the UK retailer, caused ructions last year by selling all its pension fund's equities and buying bonds.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


No more easy answers on assets - Philip Coggan, Financial Times, 24/06/2002
What is the most appropriate asset for a pension fund to hold? The easy answer is: one that most closely matches its liabilities. But that answer, of course, only begs the question.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Fear of All Sums - Paul Krugman, New York Times, 21/06/2002
Privatising US Social Security

Equities vs. bonds - the great debate - Faculty and Institute of Actuaries, Faculty and Institute of Actuaries, 14/06/2002
At the Pensions Convention today, a spirited debate took place on the relative merits of equity and bond investment for final salary pension schemes.

Impact of FRS 17 on retailers - Tony Tassell, Financial Times, 03/06/2002
Boots and J Sainsbury have revealed the latest impact of the controversial new accounting standard FRS 17 on their pension fund schemes.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Called to account - Mark Pelham, Credit magazine, 01/06/2002
Expectations are that FRS17 will increase pension fund investment in bonds. Mark Pelham investigates the extent to which firms have shifted away from equity.

'Boots for everyone' - Maria Theresa Cometto, Investment & Pensions Europe, 01/06/2002
An Englishman was the hero in New York city at the second Pension Forum organised by Ryan Labs, an American research organisation and the proprietor of the Liability Index.

Pension disaster at failed food firm - Lisa Buckingham, Mail on Sunday, 26/05/2002
Hundreds of past and present employees of Albert Fisher face a bleak retirement after the fresh food company?s collapse into receivership with a massive black hole in its pension fund.

The Inefficient Market: The US Price-Keeping Operation - Edward Chancellor, Wall Street Journal Europe, 25/05/2002
Nobody, except the most ardent conspiracy theorist, is certain that the US authorities are actively engaged in an operation to support the stock market.

Underpinning returns - The Economist, The Economist, 09/05/2002
Guarantees on investment returns are moving to centre-stage in the pensions debate.

Time to come clean on the big pensions problem - Anthony Hilton, Evening Standard, 02/05/2002
Boots caused turmoil in the pensions world earlier this year when it became known that the retailer's pension scheme was no longer invested in equities.

Falling equity markets hit US corporate pension plans: With the - Elizabeth Wine, Financial Times, 25/04/2002
Fifty of the largest US corporate pension funds collectively lost more than $36bn in 2001, according to a new report just issued by Milliman USA, a Seattle-based actuarial firm.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Pension fears as bust firm`s fund falls short - Robert Lindsay, Daily Express, 24/04/2002
Fears that thousands of workers could face poverty in retirement grew yesterday as nearly 600 staff of a bankrupt machinery firm were told they would get virtually no pension.

US company pensions - Lex, Financial Times, 22/04/2002
Two years of downward momentum in US equity markets has not dented the optimism of US chief financial officers. The 350 companies in the S&P 500 with defined benefit pension plans on average assume more than a 9% rate of return on pension fund assets.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Inflation linkage for Boots fund - Alex Jolliffe, Financial Times, 15/04/2002
Boots' £2.4bn pension scheme has bought £200m-worth of inflation-linked investments in a bid to improve the match between its assets and liabilities.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


New York's Pension Funds Reel After Taking a Dual Blow - Michael Cooper & Eric Lipton, New York Times, 03/04/2002
One of the most damaging but least scrutinized causes of New York City's current fiscal crisis is the city's pension system, which is being forced to pay out more generous benefits to retired civil servants just as its investments have lost more than $9bn

Companies & Finance: BP blames FRS 17 rule - Patrick Jenkins, Financial Times, 03/04/2002
BP yesterday blamed the contentious FRS 17 accounting rule for creating a misleading impression of funding levels in its final salary pension schemes. (2 articles).
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Long view turns out to be risky business - Zvi Bodie, Financial Times, 01/04/2002
Conventional wisdom among investment professionals holds that the longer stock is held, the safer it is. For investors with long time horizons, such as young people saving for retirement, stocks are said to be a safe asset.

The trouble with FRS17 - Jon Exley, The Actuary, 01/04/2002
"We should change our professional stance from financial poachers and spoilers into gamekeepers, before we shoot ourselves in both feet"

Boots reduces risk yet further (scroll down) - John Shuttleworth, PwC Pensions Bulletin, 01/04/2002
PwC comment on Boots' index linked swaps & the share buyback. [Page 3 of Bulletin]

Letter to the profession. Cognitive dissonance - John Shuttleworth (PwC), The Actuary, 01/04/2002
This is a plea for change. Our exam syllabus has reached its sell-by date. Worryingly for our clients and, I would contend, the public interest, trainee actuaries in this country continue to be taught palpable untruths.

Saved by the standard - David Damant, Financial Times Commenta and analysis, 28/03/2002
Saved by the standard: Everyone stands to benefit from the more realistic financial statements that FRS17 will help to create

Risk and transparency in pensions - Roberto Mendoza & Peter Hancock, Financial Times Comment and analysis, 20/03/2002
Final salary schemes expose companies to excessive risk, their assets should be moved into bonds.

SIP announces continued support for FRS 17 - Society for Investment Professionals, Society for Investment Professionals, 19/03/2002
The UK Society for Investment Professionals today announced that it continues to support the controversial UK standard FRS 17 on accounting for pension funds.

Boots in £300m share buyback - Staff writer, Daily Mail, 13/03/2002
High street chemist Boots is to return £300m to shareholders in a buyback programme.

Pensions boost for Boots buy-back - Patrick Jenkins, Financial Times, 12/03/2002
Boots, the high street chemist, is to return £300m to shareholders in the first evidence of the boost to the company's balance sheet provided by its pension scheme's switch from equities into bonds last year.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Boots buy-back follows pension fund restructuring - Mike Foster, Financial News, 12/03/2002
Boots has announced plans for a £300m ($486m) share buy-back programme following its recent decision to minimise risk in its pension scheme through the fund's purchase of fixed income securities.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Boots Pension Scheme Interim Review March 2002 - John Ralfe, Boots Pensions, 01/03/2002
Some more good news for members of the Boots pension scheme! At April 2002, the value of Boots Scheme assets was £2.4bn, up from £2.3bn in 2001.

Why move to bonds? - John Ralfe, The Actuary, 01/03/2002
John Ralfe explains why Boots bucked the trend.

Killing this dragon won't save pensions - Patience Wheatcroft, Times, 28/02/2002
Pressure is growing on the Accounting Standards Board to shelve FRS17, the latest scapegoat for the ills of final salary pension schemes.

Pension scheme members' only legal protection is MFR - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 28/02/2002
Sir, You report the government's plans to weaken the MFR for company pension funds as though it were merely a technical change.

Changes may save pensions but reduce security - Nicholas Timmins, Financial Times, 28/02/2002
Changes the government is making to final salary pension schemes may help slow their rate of closure but at the price of less security for members, actuaries said yesterday.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


The mighty bean-counter: New standards for pension accounting - John Plender, Financial Times, 20/02/2002
Power is not something people normally associate with accountants. Yet the European Union's financial services action plan has given them a great deal of it by requiring EU-listed companies to use international accounting standards by 2005.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Booting out equities - Paul Wallace, The Economist, 14/02/2002
Was Boots right to switch its entire pension fund to bonds? In late 2001, Boots astonished the world of pension investment by announcing that it had shifed its entire pension fund into high-quality bonds.

"Current accounting papers over the pension cracks" - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 12/02/2002
At last - some sensible and moderate comments on FRS17, the new pension accounting standard! Transparent and consistent accounting, including pensions, is crucial to the international capital markets.

Retired hurt - Lex, Financial Times, 09/02/2002
After weeks in which accountants and accounting standards have been in the spotlight for not revealing enough, along comes an accounting standard that is catching flak for revealing too much.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Longer time horizon - Pauline Skypala, Financial Times, 26/01/2002
Zvi Bodie is on a mission: to bridge the gap between the practice and the science of personal finance. The current situation is "untenable" he believes.

Talking about a (bond) revolution - Silvia Ascarelli, Wall Street Journal Europe, 16/01/2002
Equities get the Boot. The man behind Boots shift says it’s all about properly matching assets and liabilities rather than whether equities outperform bonds over the long-term

"Boots pension move out of equities not about accounting" - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 14/01/2002
Many commentators have suggested that the move by the £2.3bn Boots pension scheme out of equities into 100 per cent matching bonds was driven by FRS 17, the new accounting standard that values pension assets and liabilities on a market basis.

Why did Boots move to bonds? - John Ralfe, Global Pensions, 01/01/2002
The move by the £2.3bn Boots Pension Scheme from 75 per cent equities to 100 per cent bonds was to minimise investment risks by matching pension liabilities and assets.

Risk Transfer in Public Pension Plans - Jeremy Gold, Pension Research Council Wharton School, 01/01/2002
This paper uses arbitrage principles to show that equating expected costs unfairly lowers risk-adjusted costs for early generations and raises them for later generations.

Why Boots walked - John Ralfe, The Observer, 16/12/2001
Why did the £2.3 billion Boots Pensions Fund move its assets from 75 per cent equities to 100 per cent bonds?

British company pensions: Everyone's headache - The Economist, The Economist, 13/12/2001
Companies wake up to the risks of equity and defined-benefit schemes

A poor retirement - Andrew Hill & Elizabeth Wine, Financial Times, 12/12/2001
Enron had thousands of employees, customers, creditors and shareholders, all of whom have been hit by the energy trader's abrupt collapse into bankruptcy 10 days ago.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Equity cult finds party is ending - Barry Riley, Financial Times, 11/12/2001
John Ralfe, head of corporate finance at Boots, this month bravely lectured several hundred delegates at the National Association of Pension Funds' autumn investment conference on why he was right and they were all wrong.

Boots’ response to MFR Reforms - John Ralfe, Letter to DWP, 10/12/2001

A Defining Issue - Paul Krugman, New York Times, 04/12/2001
When a seemingly profitable enterprise suddenly goes bankrupt, there are surely lessons to be learned. (Enron)

Travelling light - John Ralfe, Pensions World, 01/12/2001
Ditching your equity holdings and marching into the sunlight with a pension fund full of long dated bonds. John Ralfe explains why this could be a step in the right direction.

Money Box Special: Pensions in Peril - Paul Lewis, BBC transcript of Radio broadcast, 29/11/2001
Millions of people are paying into their company pension scheme, believing this is their guarantee for the good life in retirement.

Letters: Boots pension fund move helped reduce investor risk - John Ralfe, The Times Letters, 29/11/2001
Tony Watson, Chief Investment Officer at Hermes, suggests that Boots will look "extremely silly" if the stock market enjoyed a ten-year bull run.

"Boots pensioners and index-linked bonds" - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 27/11/2001
Mr John Ross took Pauline Skypala to task for ignoring the risk of inflation faced by members of Boots pension scheme, following the ground-breaking move from equities to matching bonds.

Pensioners taste power - Barry Riley, Financial Times Money, 24/11/2001
The pensions scene has been rocked by the manner in which the Boots £2.3bn pension fund has escaped into bonds, switching entirely out of riskier equities.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Promise becomes a gamble - John Ralfe, Financial Times Money, 24/11/2001
John Ralfe sees a threat to retirement incomes in plans to replace the MFR.

Final sally - Observer column, Financial Times, 23/11/2001
John Ralfe - the whiz-kid corporate financier who masterminded the switch of the Boots pension fund from equities into bonds - spent his formative years at Oxbridge's leftwing bastions, Balliol and King's.

Pensions without paternalism - Peter Martin, Financial Times Comment and analysis, 20/11/2001
Pensions without paternalism: The switch from defined benefit to defined contribution schemes reflects a deeper shift in the nature of the company.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Son of MFR: FRS 17 - Graham Bishop, Schroder Salomon , 16/11/2001
The MFR may be softened soon and eventually abolished, but has its reform has been overtaken by low inflation and demographic certainty?

Pensions 2001 Interim statement text - Boots, Boots interim statement, 08/11/2001
The Boots pension scheme has adopted an investment strategy to minimise investment risk.

Moody's confirms Boots' A1/P- Ratings - Moody's, Moody's, 08/11/2001

Boots used the primary markets in bond deals - Mike Foster, Financial News, 05/11/2001
The £2.3bn (Euro3.7bn) Boots pension fund is said to have used the primary markets to build a fixed-income portfolio during the recent sale of all its equity holdings.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


"Rest easy, Boots pensioners" - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 05/11/2001
Members of the Boots pension scheme need not worry about the credit risk of the £2.3bn sterling bond portfolio securing their pension rights.

Boots changes pension prescription - Pauline Skypala, Financial Times, 03/11/2001
The final salary fund has switched from equities to bonds - a bold and radical move that would not suit all funds or prospective pensioners
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Sticking the Boot in - Andrew Roberts & Khuram Chadhury, Merrill Lynch, 02/11/2001
Boots have moved their pension fund to 100% bonds from 75% equities/ 20% bonds/ 5% cash. Other pension funds may follow.

Boots finds a safe pension prescription - Barry Riley, Financial Times, 01/11/2001
Boots Pension Scheme's decision to sell all its equities and concentrate its £2.3bn of assets in bonds has been explained in terms of improved security and the reduction of investment risks.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


An Overview of The Financial Theory of DB Pension Schemes - Jon Exley, Shyam Mehta and Andrew Smith, British Actuarial Journal, 01/11/2001
In 1997 we wrote a paper that applied straightforward principles of modern (post 1950 anyway) finance to the arcane world of pensions.

Boots Pension Fund - Lane Clarke & Peacock, LCP website, 01/11/2001
Leading consulting actuaries Lane Clark & Peacock (LCP) today set out four key reasons why Boots' decision to sell its equity holdings and invest 100% in corporate bonds may not be right for other pension schemes.

Boots Co. PLC. A plus corporate credit ratings after review - Omar Saeed,, S&P, 01/11/2001

A hard Oct to follow - Mark Capleton & Fred Cleary, Barclays Capital, 01/11/2001
Boots' declaration that it has moved its entire pension funds into AAA bonds won't have entirely surprised the bond market, given its past statements, and the asset allocation was completed by June.

Why bonds are right for pension funds - John Ralfe, Risk Magazine, 01/11/2001
Pension funds usually favour equities. Boots, the UK healthcare giant, recently made a strategic move of its £2.3 billion pension fund into long-dated bonds.

UK Pensions following FRS 17 - Stephen Cooper et al, UBS Warburg, 01/11/2001
FRS 17, the new UK pensions accounting standard, will have a major impact on UK financial statements following its implementation over the next two years.

Bond Investment by UK Pension Schemes - Bacon & Woodrow, Bacon & Woodrow, 01/11/2001
The £2.3 billion Boots Pension Scheme has recently made public its switch from a conventional pension scheme investment strategy to 100% investment in lon-dated bonds

Boots invests 100% in bonds - John Shuttleworth, PwC PricewaterhouseCoopers Pensions Bulletin, 30/10/2001
In magnificent defiance of the received wisdom, the Boots pension fund has sold all its equities and is now entirely invested in long-dated bonds, £2.3 billion of them.

Boots’ pension shuns shares - , BBC Website, 29/10/2001
Boots has become the first major British company to shift its entire pension fund out of shares and into bonds.

Boots fund bails out of equities - Lisa Buckingham, Mail on Sunday, 28/10/2001
Boots has become the first major British corporation to switch its entire pension fund out of shares and into the safe haven of bonds because of concerns about the cost of financing workers' retirement incomes.

Boots fund sells its equities - Kirstie Hamilton, Sunday Times, 28/10/2001
Boots, the retailer, will cause a sensation in the fund management industry this week when it admits it has switched its entire £2.3billion pension fund from equities into bonds.

Bethlehem crashes as pension liabilities mount - Geoff Ho, Professional Pensions, 21/10/2001
US - Bethlehem Steel, America's third-largest steelmaker, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy-court protection citing a $1.85bn gap in its pension fund's finances as a major factor in its demise.

Blagden will not set precedent on surplus - Shifa Rahman, Professional Pensions, 11/10/2001
UK - The Blagden Pension Scheme saga - which was finally settled after a compromise deal was reached - will not set a precedent over surplus cash entitlements.

Investment Strategy Questions and Answers - John Ralfe, Letter to Boots Pension Scheme members, 01/10/2001
We have tried to answer some of your possible questions on the new Investment Strategy, which explained in the Trustee Review.

Boots Pension Scheme: Trustee Review 2001 - Boots Pension Scheme Trustees, Letter to Members, 01/10/2001
The restructuring of the Scheme's assets is good for members and significantly increases their security. Our aim is to ensure that the value of fund assets is always enough to pay all pensions, regardless of movements in financial markets.

Boots Pension Scheme Accounts 31 March 2001 - Boots Pension Scheme Trustees, Scheme accounts, 01/10/2001
The Trustees present their Annual Report on the affairs of Boots Pension Scheme, in conjunction with the Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2001

Pension fund investment - John Shuttleworth, PwC PricewaterhouseCoopers Pensions Bulletin, 01/10/2001
A briefing about the investment of defined benefit pension funds.

"No time to scrap the MFR" - John Ralfe, The Times Letters, 25/09/2001
The Government plans to weaken and then scrap the MFR for company pension funds, believing that it distorts investment behaviour.

The end of the equity cult? - Bob Semple, Deutsche Bank, 24/09/2001
For years investors have preached the cult of the equity, and in the 1990s devotion to the faith paid off handsomely. However, in this note we argue that there are forces at work that are conspiring to reduce the attraction of equities.

"Saving for an uncertain future" - Peter Tompkins, Financial Times Comment & Analysis, 19/09/2001
Pensions have had a rough time these last few years. Lower returns on personal pensions, tax relief removed on dividends and annuity guarantees hitting insurance companies hard have created a climate of uncertainty for those planning for retirement.

The MFR: The next stage of reform - DWP, DWP website, 01/09/2001
On 7 March 2001 the Government announced its proposals to replace the Minimum Funding Requirement (MFR) with a long-term, scheme specific, funding standard.

FRS 17 One Year On - Steve Cooper & Gillian Sutherland, UBS Warburg : Global Equity Research, 01/08/2001
FRS 17 requires radical new pension accounting rules for UK companies; disclosures started from June 2001. Full implementation was originally scheduled for June 2003; this has now been delayed.

Tough times expose the with-profits risk - Barry Riley, Financial Times, 18/07/2001
Silence from the rest of the UK life assurance industry has followed the further dismal news on Monday from Equitable Life, which cut its maturing personal pension policy values by 16 per cent.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Pension Funds and the UK economy - Jon Exley, Joint Institute and Faculty of Actuaries Finance and Investment, 25/06/2001
The paper considers the impact of UK defined benefit pension scheme funding and investment on the UK economy. It suggests that many conventional theories are based on incomplete or inconsistent economic theory.

Tension increases over FRS 17 solvency - Barry Riley, Financial Times, 20/06/2001
It will be another two or three years before British companies are required to comply fully with the new accounting standard FRS 17 for pension costs.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Boots boosted by new pension disclosure rule - William Hutchings, Financial News, 18/06/2001
Retailer Boots has become one of the first large UK companies to report its pension costs under the new and controversial accounting standard.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Give credit where credit's due - Paul Stanworth, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), 01/06/2001
A number of well publicised pieces of UK pensions regulation are either being introduced or proposed in the coming years.

Election Briefing 2001: Labour and Business Taxes - Stephen Bond, Alexander Klemm and Helen Simpson, Institute of Fiscal Studies, 10/05/2001
Since winning the 1997 election, Labour has made a number of changes to business taxes. This Briefing Note will deal with general measures, those aimed at smaller firms and the windfall levy and the climate change levy.

Pensions, funding and risk - Richard Chapman,Tim Gordon and Cliff Speed, Institute of Actuaries Paper, 23/04/2001
Identifies economic system of pensions

Pensions industry has doubts over report - Barry Riley, Financial Times, 11/04/2001
When Paul Myners last month published his review of UK institutional investment for the Treasury, the response was extremely favourable.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Shortfall uncovered in Ravenhead pension fund - James Wallace, Professional Pensions, 04/04/2001
A £5m shortfall has been revealed in the £30m Ravenhead Company Pension Plan.

Young Guns - John Ralfe, Pensions Week, 19/03/2001
Professor David Blake attacks the use of bond yields to value pension liabilities, both for actuarial purposes and accounting purposes, under the new FRS17.

Institutional Investment in the United Kingdom: A Review - Paul Myners, Treasury website, 06/03/2001
The Myners' Review

Security for Occupational Pensions: The Government’s proposals - DSS, DSS, 01/03/2001
The Government has decided on the way forward for the minimum funding requirement (MFR) in the light of responses to the consultation exercise.

Boots backs reform of insolvency laws - Mike Foster, Financial News, 05/02/2001
UK retail giant Boots has supported the campaign for a change to UK insolvency laws so that corporates can give preferred creditor status to their pension funds.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Boots' Response to DSS/ Treasury Consultation Document - John Ralfe, Letter to Treasury, 31/01/2001
On behalf of The Boots Company and The Boots Pension Scheme we are pleased to provide a response to the DSS/ Treasury consultation document and the interim report of the Myners' review of institutional investment.

The Boots Company Accounts March 2001 - Boots, Financial Review, 01/01/2001
Lease liabilities In common with other UK retailers, the group has liabilities through its obligations to pay rents under property leases.

Failing to make financial sense of the future - Barry Riley, Financial Times, 12/12/2000
Last week brought a disaster at Equitable Life, the venerable mutual office which has had to close to new business and slash its pension policy bonuses because of a failure, over many years, to provide for guaranteed annuities.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Pension valuation principles misunderstood - Jon Exley, Tim Gordon, Shyam Mehta & Cliff Speed, Financial Times Letters, 29/11/2000
Sir, Mr John Ralfe was right to take Mr Paul Myners to task.

MFR proposal is consistent with corporate finance theory - Paul Myners, Financial Times Letters, 23/11/2000
I am not sure why John Ralfe (Letters, November 21) believes that my proposals on the MFR are inconsistent with corporate finance theory.

Pension funding rule proposals would be unworkable - John Ralfe, Financial Times Letters, 21/11/2000
Mr Paul Myners proposes to scrap the MFR and replace it with more member and public scrutiny. These proposals are unsound in theory and unworkable in practice.

Mixed response to new pensions report - Barry Riley, Financial Times, 15/11/2000
Last week Paul Myners delivered an interim statement of conclusions from his review of UK institutional investment.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Interim Letter to Gordon Brown & Alistair Darling - Paul Myners, Letter, 08/11/2000
Interim letter on the review of institutional investment to establish if there were factors distorting institutional investment decisions.

FRS17 - John Ralfe and Nigel Cassidy, Radio 4 Today Programme, 01/11/2000
Interview on BBC Radio 4 "The Today Programme" on the new FRS17 accounting standard on pensions

FRS17 - ASB, ASB website, 01/11/2000
Crucial UK accounting standard on pensions

Security for Occupational Pensions A consultation document - DSS, DSS, 21/09/2000
This consultation document seeks views on the Minimum Funding Requirement (MFR) that applies to most private sector defined benefit (DB) occupational pension schemes.

Death with a difference: the curious case of Blagden - Martin Dickson, Financial Times, 12/08/2000
Blagden, a small chemicals group, is about to take the unusual step of embracing voluntary euthanasia. The manner of its death could give the company a notoriety quite at odds with its long but modest life.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Pensions dilemma for Blagden - Simon Targett, Financial Times, 08/08/2000
Shareholders in Blagden are being urged to pay extra funds into its pension scheme amid fears that over 1,000 employees will be ""short-changed""
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Boots' Response to Myners' Review - John Ralfe (Signed David Thompson), Letter to Treasury, 19/07/2000

Pension Fund Investment: Bumper returns in golden age - Barry Riley, Financial Times, 12/05/2000
Flexible actuarial valuations have encouraged UK funds to maintain very high exposures to equities.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Accounting/Actuarial Bias Enables Equity Investment - Jeremy Gold, Pension Research Council Working Paper, 01/05/2000
Although pension finance theory says almost all defined benefit pension plans sponsored by publicly traded U.S. corporations should invest entirely in fixed income, 60% of assets are invested in equities.

A Note on the Tax Treatment of Private Pensions and Individual Savings Accounts - Carl Emmerson & Sarah Tanner, Fiscal studies, 01/03/2000
This note compares the tax treatments of pensions and ISAs and assesses the conditions under which the tax treatment of private pensions is more generous than that of an ISA to a basicrate taxpayer — the typical target for stakeholder pensions.

New lease liability rules threaten company profits - Tim Danaher , Property Week, 11/02/2000
Companies occupying leasehold property could see their profits slashed under a proposed new accounting standard.

Capitalising property leases: an occupier's view - John Ralfe, IPF lecture, 02/02/2000
Presentation to Investment Property Forum on the 1999 ASB Discussion Paper on Leases

Boots' Response to ASB Discussion Paper on leases - John Ralfe (Signed David Thompson), Letter to ASB, 10/01/2000
We welcome and support the objectives of the ASB in reforming accounting for leases. We believe that SSAP 21 does not reflect the underlying economics of leases and is also inconsistent with other accounting, especially FRS 5.

When I'm 64. Company pensions for corporate treasurers - John Ralfe, The Treasurer, 01/11/1999
Company pensions should not be the preserve of the actuary who has traditionally used a conceptual framework peculiar to pensions, and at odds with the way in which treasurers look at the world.

The price of actuarial values - Tim Gordon, Staple Inn Actuarial Society, 16/02/1999
I confess that it had always puzzled me why actuarial methods applied in relation to pensions seemed to be fundamentally different from methods applied elsewhere in finance.

Boots' response to ASB Discussion Paper on Pensions - John Ralfe (Signed David Thompson), Letter to ASB, 22/10/1998
We believe that the existing accounting for Defined Benefit company pensions represents the largest remaining anomoly in UK financial reporting and is in need of radical reform.

Initial Discussion with ASB on pensions - John Ralfe, Boots, 02/10/1998
Initial Discussion with ASB on pensions, following Discussion Paper.

Deaf ears are turned to the pension prophets - Barry Riley, Financial Times, 04/08/1998
I have mixed news about the rogue trio of actuaries who, as I reported more than a year ago, have been trying to persuade British defined benefit pension funds to abandon equities and invest entirely in bonds.
FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS ONLY A SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE IS AVAILABLE


Salary Related Cash Flows: Market Based Valuation - Andrew Smith, Bacon & Woodrow, 20/01/1998
Traditionally, focus on market valuation within the actuarial profession has tended to be restricted to areas where the pricing of a financial product was the primary aim of the calculation.

The Financial Theory of Defined Benefit Pension Schemes - C.J. Exley, S.J.B. Mehta & A.D. Smith, Institute of Actuaries, 27/04/1997
Increasingly,business & investment management techniques are founded on approaches to measurement of profit & risk developed by financial economists.

Reasons to be hedgeless, 1,2,3 - John Ralfe, Risk Magazine, 01/07/1996
My July 1994 article provoked howls of protest from Treasurers and Bankers, who saw a sexy part of their job being challenged.

What the PBGC can learn from the FSLIC - Zvi Bodie, Journal of Financial Services Research, 01/04/1996
This paper draws attention to some important lessons the PBGC can learn from the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation.

On the Risk of Stocks in the Long Run - Zvi Bodie, Financial Analysts Journal, 05/05/1995
This paper examines the proposition that investing in common stocks is less risky the longer an investor plans to hold them.

Betting Your Hedges - John Ralfe, Risk Magazine, 01/07/1994
Corporate treasurers hedge too much ; they hedge things they should not be hedging at all and they hedge too much of those things they should be hedging.

Pension Benefit Guarantees in the US : a functional analysis - Zvi Bodie & Robert C. Merton, The future of pensions in the United States, 01/01/1993
Analysis of the guarantees in the US retirement system

On the Management of Financial Guarantees - Robert C. Merton & Zvi Bodie, Financial Management, 22/12/1992
Guarantees of financial performance on loans and other debt-related contracts are widely used throughout the U.S. and international financial systems.

Actuaries, Pension Funds and Investment - T. G. Arthur & P. G Randall, Institute of Actuaries, 23/10/1989
The authors discuss the investment of pension and other institutional funds. stressing a theme of investing to meet liabilities. Their aim is to stimulate debate by actuaries and the investment community. leading to the development of better approaches to pension fund investment and its monitoring.

Pension Funds, Actuaries and Investment summary - T. G. Arthur & P. G. Randall, Institute of Actuaries, 23/10/1989

The Tax Consequences of Long-Run Pensions Policy - Fischer Black, Financial Analysts Journal, 01/07/1980
Seminal article by Fischer Black advocating that US companies should hold bonds in their pension plans

DATABASE
Change the Order Articles are listed inTo see what's new, articles can also be sorted by date of posting

book The site has over 1,600 articles and papers on pensions from academic journals, to Government Papers to newspapers. Copyright for all articles and images remains with the author & original publication.

Please report broken links to websitemanager@JohnRalfe.com

Registration is required to minimise auto-spam mail.

Many of the articles are from the Financial Times which provides unrivalled news and analysis on pensions. Articles from August 2004 are linked to the FT website (the date it started) and the FT allows a limited number of articles to be read in a week before subscription is required.

For FT articles before August 2004, for copyright reasons I can show only a summary.

FAIR DEALING NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorised by the copyright owner. John Ralfe Consulting makes this material available without profit to those who have registered an interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes fair dealing with such copyrighted material as provided for in Sections 29 & 30 of the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair dealing, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Close pop-up window
Sort Results By:


Close pop-up window
Sort Articles By: