A round-up of this week's pensions stories from across the FT group, from insurer RSA’s liabilities stymying a future break-up, to the ECB cutting the ribbon on its bond-buying program.
Video: Should the 0.75 per cent cap go lower? In part two of Countdown to April, Mark Futcher from Barnett Waddingham and LGIM's Emma Douglas explore how DC schemes are responding to reform (5:37).
Data released by the Office for National Statistics give more evidence auto-enrolment is driving up participation in pension schemes, but a growing proportion payments to defined contribution schemes languish at 2 per cent, with public sector contributions outpacing private.
The headline figures appear to be good news: we are now seeing the highest proportion of employees in workplace pensions since the series began in 1997 – 59 per cent is this year's figure, up from last year's 47 per cent.
But as this rising 'popularity' has been driven by occupational defined contribution, group personal and group stakeholder pensions, and much of that through auto-enrolment, the actual contribution levels have seen a decline.
In 2014, 33 per cent of employees with workplace pensions contributed an amount less than 2 per cent, compared with 11 percent contributing a similar amount in 2013. Defined benefit, meanwhile, continues to lose share over time.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, pensions minister Steve Webb focused on the membership figure which he described as "stunning" in a statement released by the Department for Work and Pensions today, and attributed the growth in membership "in no small part to the success of automatic enrolment".
A round-up of this week's pensions stories from across the FT group, from a Tory MP joining calls for flat-rate tax relief on pensions, to funds' shortening patience with their asset managers.
After a year preparing for auto-enrolment, Costa franchise Premier Coffee did not receive a single follow-up enquiry from its 120 eligible staff, and only a handful of opt-outs, demonstrating the engagement challenge facing UK employers.
Pensions minister Steve Webb recently called for retirees to be able to cash in or swap annuity providers in much the same way homeowners can currently switch their mortgage rate.
This is a natural extension to the freedoms afforded to pensions from April this year when the requirement to annuitise will be eliminated.
The proposal to allow the cashing-in of annuities seeks to address the concerns of the 5m individuals who have already used their retirement pot to buy an annuity, prior to Osborne’s Budget announcement.
It also would help tackle the perennial problem of individuals who failed to shop around when purchasing an annuity and subsequently found themselves locked into a poor-value product.
But what would a secondary market for annuities look like for the individual? Would flexibility provide a better deal? And how would it be regulated?
A round-up of this week's pensions stories from across the FT group, from support for US pension fund Calpers reducing the number of its private equity fund managers, to a growing trend among schemes towards in-house investment management.
Since I first became a pensions lawyer more than 23 years ago, the level of complexity of pensions has increased both in terms of legislation but also the case law set by judges – a recent IBM judgment exceeded 600 pages in length.
There is now more than enough law to keep even the most diligent lawyer fully occupied.
This increased complexity has impacted on the role of pension trustees too.
Gone are the days when being a trustee meant turning up to four meetings a year to discuss the fund's investment performance and to be told by the actuary every three years what level of employer contribution was needed.
Today's pension scheme trustees are expected and required to take a far more active role in the management of their schemes, be they defined benefit, defined contribution or hybrid arrangements.
This increased focus on the role has led some to question whether there is still a role for the unqualified, lay trustee – can they really understand such a complex technical subject?
In the first quarter of 2015, our debate panel members explain their hopes, concerns and predictions for defined contribution savers and their schemes in the year ahead.
A round-up of this week's pensions stories from across the FT group, from eurozone quantitative easing widening corporate pension deficits, to the spotlight being turned on pension fund executive pay.
- Aon lifestyling failure leaves members exposed to risk assets
- DB-DC transfer requests will rise. Here is how to handle them
- Ready or not: pensions administration post-April 2015
- Four graphs on why auto-enrolment is just the first step
- Pension tools not up to scratch for post-April flexibilities, say experts