Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Not a Nice Birthday Present

This morning I got a very nice birthday present. Standard Life sent me my annual pension statement. The value of my fund has reduced by 11% in the last twelve months. I suppose I was expecting something worse, but even so, it came as a bit of a blow. I wonder if there will be any political fallout from this, as I won't be the only one to get that letter this morning.

67 comments:

Guthrum said...

No it will be mustn't grumble

Anonymous said...

Epping Forest Conservatives are fully behind a new Mosque in Loughton, Essex.
But why, why do the Conservatives welcome a Mosque in the area of Loughton that is 99.9% white.
Read about this amazing vote loser at eppingforestresidents.blog.com

John Moss said...

Yup!

My total contributions over last 5 years exceed the value of the fund by 21%!

Simon said...

No doubt some of the 11% found its way into someone's pocket in the form of a bonus or "fees". The only way to stop these companies robbing you is to invest it yourself. At least then you'll know who's responsible.

Lola said...

Blame El Gordo The Wealth Destroyer, not Standard Life. Anyway what bloody fund are you invested in?

Anonymous said...

It's the free market, sometimes it goes up sometime it goes down. You probably want to take a more active role in your plan's investment strategy rather than simply stick to the default lifestyling option. Either way, you feel bad, imagine those retiring now, you still got a while until then, the markets will be back.

Dick Puddlecote said...

The valuation looks bad but if it's unit-based, you could be buying up funds at a rate of knots at the moment. As long as the market eventually recovers, those units bought at a low value are going to be a godsend.

j said...

The only "political fallout" will be more people trying to become an MP to secure the gold-plated, taxpayer-funded pension that goes with the that job.

Gallimaufry said...

Happy Twenty First Birthday Iain. The whole financial services industry is a ponzi scheme run for those working in it and people who retired several years ago. I've followed "professional" advice and "invested" in the Unquittable, Scottish Amicable/Prudential and CGNU/Norwich Union/Aviva and discovered that I would have made more money in a decent mutual building society. Hemp rope and lamp posts all round.

The Grim Reaper said...

That must mean plenty more newspaper reviews on Sky News are in the pipeline. Don't forget to keep up the exciting range of ties whilst you're at it, Iain. ;-)

Flemingcrag said...

Still its nice to know bank bonuses are back. I do not wish to depress you furher Iain but, over the last decade I noticed a direct correlation between my dwindling pension pot and ever bigger bank bonuses.

Just underlines the fact of what a stress free job these bankers have, all the risk they take is with our money and if the gamble goes belly-up, they pocket the bonus and we eat the loss. Nice work if you can get it.

Norton Folgate said...

Welcome to the shafted in the pension hole club.

Geriatric destitution awaits us all.

Except MP's and the public sector and alike naturally.

talwin said...

Can't understand it, Iain. Bad news on unemployment today; and now clear evidence that pension values are down. And all the time Gordon Brown's there doing all that stuff to save the economy and for hard working families. It's a mystery. Perhaps you're just unlucky.

dearieme said...

My wife got that letter last week. She's transferring to a SIPP.

Anonymous said...

my equitable one was down 30%, hope this makes you feel better

Anonymous said...

In the words of Nelson Muntz

Ha...haaaa!

fig said...

you did well iain.my two pensions were down about 20%.i converted my pensions into a sipp.from now on,i'm in charge for better or worse!regards,fig.

johnny schaden-freude said...

Why should the value of your pension fund cause "political fallout?"

The reduced state of your pension is a matter of personal responsibility, as any Thatcherite should know, and reflects your failure to get on the Westminster gravy train in 2005.

Just think how much richer you would be had you not made such a pig's ear of Norfolk North.

Happy Birthday.

michael winner said...

Calm down, dear, its only a pension.

I use mine to buy my Xmas presents.

neil h said...

I wonder if any MPs will volunteer to take an 11% cut in their pension pot.

Oldrightie said...

Anything to do with the pension scandal gets ignored, Iain. I should know.

hawkeye said...

I stopped contributing to my pension some years ago for similar reasons. Before Gordon, the projected fund looked like a telephone number. After Gordon my pension was worth bugg*r all. It is now worth about 1/3 of what I paid into it.

I would have been better off spending the money.

ILLIBERAL DEMOCRATS said...

Happy Birthday to you!

Anonymous said...

You're lucky - I got mine from SL in October when it had gone down by about 40%.

Michael Heaver said...

I predict the Labour vote in Norwich North is about to collapse worse than the media seem to be predicting. Third is very realistic.

Maxwelled x 2 said...

Ha, lucky you!

When my company pension scheme was wound up, I was forced to put my meagre pension into "paid-up" state with no additions possible.

It's since lost some 50% and to add insult to injury, Legal and General, (as you're mentioning names, I shall as well), the company whose bank account it's sitting in, (i.e. NOT actually being managed) deduct a £5 "management" charge every month.

I cannot withdraw it until 50, by which time I calculate that if there's no rise in the market, "management" charges will have eaten up the fund before it can pay out.

I'd have done better buying Northern Rock shares.

jamesmanning said...

I was similarly disappointed when my Student Loan statement came through last month.

I'm paying 2.5% interest on it - the best part of £300 increase each year.

At a time when i'm getting under 1% interest on my bank account, and when so many young people and graduates are struggling to find employment, it really is an unspoken scandal.

Clive said...

And the political fallout of the various assaults on pensions has been what so far?

(queue sound of tumbleweed)

More interestingly, what are the Conservative policies in this area?

Hissy fit said...

Christ almighty - are you pathetic enough to believe that anyone requires, or is interested in, Twitter updates on how your birthday proceedings are developing? Really Iain, this is a bit much. Can you not live for one day without broadcasting your minute-by-minute accounts of your life?

Thatsnews said...

You have my deepest sympathy, Iain. Yesterday I received a similar letter from Equitable life.

Seemed to be more than 121% drop, though. Oh, well...

Anoneumouse said...

No wonder you strive to serve in public office (the safe haven of the rouge). All of us sane people know, you save and invest your own money for your retirement. Everything else is a tax scam.

Put your dosh under your mattress and don't let government know that you have it.

You can then claim maximum taxfree state pension, pluss tax credits.

David from Ealing said...

Iain, your partner had something promised for your birthday. Hope that's more exciting.

Lord Lavendon said...

Iain

What about a do it yourself SIPP? Ask your IFA for details .

Also don't forget Brown's terrible raid on pension funds at the beginning of the current regimes existance, which has not helped (and this is a gross under statement ) . How he got away with this is beyond belief .

Anonymous said...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/poland/5837378/Tory-MEPs-led-by-Pole-with-extremist-past.html

Not Nice

Ron Combo said...

Standard Life? You're better off buying scratchcards.

canvas said...

the elephant in the room....

Allan said...

Yes, Happy Birthday Iain. Are you like me in being 21 today?

Man in a Shed said...

You lucky so and so. Mine have dropped 15-18% last year.

Money being bled of to pay for Gordon Brown's fantasy public spending binge and to condemn those not in gold plated public sector jobs to a future of misery and poverty.

Who is John Galt ? I'm not entirely sure - but I know he's very pissed off right now.

tapestry said...

Wait for the statement you will get next year when your statement might show a fall of 30%!

Share markets are holding up even where P/E ratios are 60 retrospectively. They cannot stay up where they are another year.

And you are locked in no doubt unable to move your money.

This is financial regulation at work. Money can only be placed in long positions, and never short, even when asset markets are falling.

You have to be spread out over all sectors even when 90% of them are falling, and 10% rising, and you are not allowed to cash out without penalties.

I am working on setting up an investment option for people where markets can either be shorted or bought long, where money is only committed to markets where technical analysis indicates a move is about to happen, where people can withdraw their money instantly without penalties (only admin fee), where the money is not taxed (as it is in the UK thanks to Gordon Brown) and where the fees on entry are half those of the Insurance Companies.

Advert over. This is politics. I am disgusted at how private people are sent down the river by the benefit of financial regulation. My advice to people is to get out of Britain, or if you cannot get out, remember that your money can get out very easily.

Or maybe like Iain, you feel loyalty to a country and a system that is bound to lose you most of your money in government inspired illogicality (regulation), and taxes. You have my admiration.

CROWN said...

down 11% during the worst year for investments since 1929. Property falls, shares fall, oil falls, gold falls, commodities fall, bonds fall, gilts fall. Brown has tucked us up once and for all.

Victor, NW Kent said...

Happy Birthday, Iain.

Don't fret so much about your pension - you might not live long enough to draw it and then it won't matter.

See - there really is a silver lining...

Anonymous said...

How can it be only down 11%? I'm down a good 30%.

Still, mustn't grumble. It's only capitalism.

Lady Finchley said...

Same here - I don't blame Standard Life - I blame Gordon Brown who first raided our pensions to the tune of 5 billion in 1997 and the fools voted them back TWICE.

There is no way I can ever afford to retire and I will be working till I drop as will millions of others. That is of course unless I am forced to retire at 65 by discriminatory laws.

DominicJ said...

I lost my contributions and my employers contributions, which considering I joined the scheme three years ago, is a lot.
I think my pension is now worth my contributions.
Which isnt great.

Thinking of moving it to something high risk out of the UK.

Voyager said...

No Iain there won't be. We had Equitable Life, Pemsions Mis-Selling, Endowment Fraud, and the great House Inflation deliberately stoked to offset the collapse of the Dot-com Boom.

People in Britain are innumerate dolts and are regularly fleeced by government and financial fraudsters. It is simply state of nature and suckers are going to be worked over.

Just read the Rolling Stone article on Goldman Sachs and see how lucrative it can be to take retail investors for a ride. Pension Funds and Equity investments are basically throwing money away - look at Lloyds Shareholders and how the Directors destroyed an Annuity Stock wiping out savings and incomes

bergen said...

Only 11% down?

Much better than mine.

It brings to mind the old joke"I've spent my money on women and drink.The rest I wasted on a pension."

I'm resigned to working well past 65.Thank God I'm self employed and can do so.

dmk said...

Only 11%? You should be throwing a party. I couldn't even face getting the calculator out.

I'm not defending Brown, but if we had inflation of 11% then that would have the same net effect on pensions. At least inflation is through the floor as well.

SHB said...

I think you need to go back to 1997 and Brown's decision to remove the dividend tax credit from pension funds to pinpoint the start of this problem.

Why more isn't made of this is beyond me.

For sure the value of investments and therefore your pension can go up and down, but this Government (and Brown in particular) has made the biggest single contribution to the destruction of pensions through that decision.

Many estimate that at least £100bn has been taken from private and company pension schemes since 1997.

In the meantime public sector pensions continue to be a massive ponzi scheme where todays taxes pay for yesterday's pension obligations.

PS:- Iain, any chance of a forum attached to the blog?

Cynic said...

We have had 11 years of Labour Government and this week even Mandleson admitted that it will take a generation to pay off the Bill.

Why are the conservatives not making more of this stunning admission?

Trussed-up turkey said...

Iain,

join the queue!

"Labour isn't working (again)"

Anonymous said...

Iain - as you know World markets suffered a massive shock late last year. Much of this was to do with the rapacious banks selling sub primes which ended up being worthless. The Government saved some of those banks from bankruptcy - and if it hadnt you could have kissed goodbye to any pension. Since that rescue, if you look at the markets there has been a 25% increase in the FTSE since March. I dont understand right wing commentators who bemoan the state of their investments-when they also extoll the virtues of the free market. You are obviously a relatively well educated man - yet your overriding desire to pin blame for all woes on this Government gets in the way of any sense of proportion or objectivity. When the Tories win and there are falls in your investments - as there will be - there always will be - will you use your blog to criticise Cameron and Osborne? or will your recognise that this is what happens in free markets.

Anonymous said...

Only 11%, trust me you got off lightly, very lightly indeed.

bugsmalone said...

What most investors in pension funds don't appreciate is the appalling quality of the skills of the fund managers. These people invest our money and very seldom make a decent return in spite of their being so-called professionals. The record of Standard Life the scotch giant is particularly bad - sadly I'm stuck with one of their pensions and the return is pathetic with about a 30% decline over 4 years.

Yes, SIPPS are probably a way but diy in investment is tricky and not for the faint-hearted.

Fearless Frank said...

And have you looked at what your diminishing wealth might actually get you?
According to my Iniquitous Life statement, I can expect an annuity worth 3.9 per cent of capital - and they get to keep the capital!

Penfold said...

I got mine this week from Legal and General and Equitable.

The latter is of course a lost cause, i've been totally screwed by the directors and the regulators, and the government and then further dicked by the refusal to release the enquiry and stump up compensation.
All because 2 out of 3 judges decided that they knew best and could over-ride the decisions of the company managers and controllers. Not by chance that these 2 tossers had GARS and were ensuring that they got the best deal..... heaven forbid that judges can abuse their position...NOT.

As for L&G, i'm in the same boat Iain, all down to that economic mastermind, GIT (Gordon the Incompetent Twat), the Ernst Stavro Blofeld of macroeconomics and self-delusion.

Interesting word verification:
SARRESTS.

happyuk07 said...

Iain,

Given that stock markets can rise or fall by at least 20-30% in any one year I would not be too concerned by this, especially if your retirement is at least 10-20 years away.

See this as an opportunity for your pension to buy into high quality stocks at bargain bin prices. Those that make money buy when everyone is shit scared (now), those that lose buy when everyone is greedy (eg the late 90s tech bubble).

What you should REALLY be concerned with is the annual percentage management fee of your pension fund. Anything over 1% and your're getting ripped off. This will eat into your returns.

Check that your fund is not actively managed ie whizzkids that think they can predict stock market movements (ha!), or the next Microsoft, all the while charging you heavily for the 'privilege'. The vast majority of these underperform the market average and passive indexing, leading to disappointment.

So there.

Anonymous said...

Thatsnews said...
"Yesterday I received a similar letter from Equitable life.
Seemed to be more than 121% drop, though. Oh, well..."

Does that mean you have to pay them when you retire?

Ray Nerslane said...

I'm 55 and have recently received similar depressing news from Norwich Union, or whatever they're calling themselves this week.

I've spent three quarters of my working life assuming I would have an adequate pension. Now I discover it's virtually worthless and it's far too late and prohibitively expensive to do anything about it.

I try not to think about retirement. On bad days I genuinely hope I won't live to collect what little pension I am likely to have.

My parents' generation were looked after pretty well pension-wise, and my kids will soon realise (if they don't already) that they need to look after themselves, but many, many people of my generation will face massive problems in ten years or so.

Gordon Brown is truly a c*unt.

AProlefrom1984 said...

'Investment' companies are all rip off merchants.

Many happy returns of the day, incidentally.

Anonymous said...

It's like a Bleak House for the 2000s where the costs of the people you employ to safefguard your money outweigh what you've got left in the pot. I told my Nationwide financial advisor, I'm paying you people to lose my money. "Oh, no, sir" he said, "you've only lost it on paper, in 20 years time you'll get it all back."

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the real world. The politicians got us into this and I don't see the Conservatives making it any better with Cameron as Prime Minister.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the real world. The politicians got us into this and I don't see the Conservatives making it any better with Cameron as Prime Minister.

Lee H said...

One nice present though for your birthday. England 252/2 at tea!! Cheers

bewick said...

boo bloody hoo.

I am in the twilight of life. I made (with the benefit of hindsight) a disastrous decision to couple up with Equitable Life for an endowment to cover my mortgage. Due in 5 years. At the time the financial gurus were recommending endowment mortgages as a "no brainer" and EL was top of the list.

10 to 15 years ago said EL confirmed that my eventual payout was somewhat more than enough to pay off my mortgage. NOW? Well it is less than 1/4 of what I expected.
I have used capital to reduce the debt. The Ombudsman has said that compensation is due - unfortunatley only likely for the pensioners who took advantage of a deal which was too good to be true. The Government are steadfastly refusing to honour the recommendations whilst at the same time borrowing heavily to give AID to 3rd world countries. **** them.
In 5 years I will likely have to sell to eliminate my debt - after 40 years in this house.
Yet YOU moan. You don't bloody well know that you are born!

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't worry about your pension - you are nowhere near retirement age yet! Markets go up and down. Just make sure you 'lifestyle' your investments in the years before you retire, particularly after a period of market growth, so you get a good return. If you're lucky, that is... and anyway, it all depends on the annuity rate, not just the value of your fund.

Osama the Nazarene said...

Only 11%? You are lucky mine went down 21% and I don't have 15 years before having to claim!

Please also factor in the 40% tax benefit you had in contributing to the pension. A lot of people conveniently forget about this!

Anonymous said...

First:

" Anonymous said...
Thatsnews said...
"Yesterday I received a similar letter from Equitable life.
Seemed to be more than 121% drop, though. Oh, well..."

Does that mean you have to pay them when you retire?"

Actually yes, we will continue to pay taxes to pay for the public sector pensions until some time after we die.

Second:

"Please also factor in the 40% tax benefit you had in contributing to the pension. A lot of people conveniently forget about this!"

Excuse me? What "40%", there is no "benefit" if a mugger only takes most of your money, and besides, how much of the "invested" money will you get back? None! So explain to me why funds which are incompetantly invested and which I cannot ever get access to are in some way associated with a 'beneift'. They are just there to be looted by the bloated parasites of parliament and the public sector (Gorbals Mick's pension, BBC hierarchy pensions - yes, we pay, so they don't have to work).