Reaction to BBC Panorama programme on pensions last night
I’m very pleased to see lots of focus on pensions by the BBC at the moment. First Newsnight, now Panorama.
Some initial thoughts on last night’s Panorama programme.
Firstly, the positives:
- They are right to name and shame pension providers for high charges (for the record, HSBC, Co-op and L&G were the three worst offenders);
- They were also VERY right to focus on fund rebates as a murky area of charges. Rebates can make up a significant part of any investment charges and investors should be aware of what happens to these rebates;
- They are right to highlight that some people have received poor advice and to name and shame the advisers involved.
However, there were a few short-comings:
- The presenter threw numbers around in a very alarmist fashion, without much context. e.g. “Did you know you have paid £4700 in charges on your pension?” What transpired was that this wasn’t high by comparison to some other products in the market, the real issue with the pension concerned was the very poor returns it had generated over a long period of time;
- At the same time as naming the worst providers, they should have named the best providers – not all pension providers are equal, and by focusing on the negatives they missed an opportunity to encourage people to focus on their retirement plans more constructively;
- Not all advisers are unscrupulous. In fact, in light of the content of the programme, surely a good adviser is surely worth his weight in gold? The final part of the programme was bit more Watchdog than Panorama.
If you’d like your own pension health check, drop me a line.
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