Viewpoints

Punter Southall’s blog brings you insight, news and views from industry experts. Feel free to post your own comments on any of the topics discussed and join the debate. To subscribe to future blogs subscribe to our RSS feed.
    Date Published
    16 February 2017
    ​The introduction of FRS102 has arguably improved the accuracy of company accounts, with changes such as including pension liabilities for the first time for some employers.  Some of these changes have resulted in a decline in the Experian scores used to assess the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) levies for the affected employers.  But are these worse scores and hence increases in levies always a t... [Read the rest of this article]
    Date Published
    10 November 2016
    ​Society should think carefully before enacting far-reaching legislation in pursuit of benefit security. While some changes to the current system could be helpful, legislators should be wary of knee-jerk reactions in attempts to solve the problems facing DB schemes. We have reached a similar conclusion to the DB Taskforce that around 1 in 4 (or 1,500) DB schemes will not pay all the benefits cur... [Read the rest of this article]
    Date Published
    20 October 2016
    ​Time spent on a narrow boat slipping along Britain’s restored canals is to experience a pace of life from a time gone by. The clock ticks less insistently as you busy yourself with ropes or the helm to be part of what was once at the heart of Britain’s roaring industrial revolution. Yet the history of our canal network is a symbol of the kind of change we are experiencing at the moment. Inves... [Read the rest of this article]
    Date Published
    15 September 2016
    ​As sunshine continued to beam across (most of) Britain this September, the only corner in shadow is where interest rates or, what’s left of them, dwell. Rate-setting meetings, certainly, at the Bank of England and, probably, at The Federal Reserve, are unlikely to offer a glimmer of upward movement. As I write, they’ve held steady at Threadneedle Street at 0.25 per cent, awaiting any lurking p... [Read the rest of this article]
    Date Published
    22 August 2016
    ​ Henry Kissinger knows a thing or two about the art of negotiation. And there are a number of quotes which allude to his accumulated wisdom around the negotiation table but one stands out. “Whatever must happen ultimately should happen immediately.” This makes eminent sense. Raise, discuss and agree the central issues clear to all concerned as quickly as possible. Call me presumptuous but ... [Read the rest of this article]
    Date Published
    29 June 2016
    ​I’m in Newfoundland for an international conference for actuaries who appear in court as expert witnesses. We help the courts to make sense of pensions disputes for trustees, companies and individuals.  It’s one of our specialisations and something I enjoy. To hear what is probably one of the most momentous decisions for the UK in its history while thousands of miles away was odd, to say the le... [Read the rest of this article]
    Date Published
    14 June 2016
    ​My grandfather’s principal experience of Europe was serving in both world wars with the Royal Navy. My father joined the army just as the Second World War was ending, was commissioned, and was a career soldier.   I mused on this after recently editing an old home movie of a family wedding in the 50’s. One shot has, from left, my grandfather, mother and father walking to church.   I put this... [Read the rest of this article]
    Date Published
    11 February 2016
    ​The Chancellor has promised to give his response to the consultation on possible fundamental changes to the tax system in his Budget speech on 16 March. While we do not yet know what he will propose, there is widespread speculation that he may be planning to announce a system under which pensions are subject to a uniform rate of tax relief. The Chancellor’s announcement will come at a time when... [Read the rest of this article]
    Date Published
    22 December 2015
    Been a bit quiet of late on the blogging front. In February, I wrote about the negative-rate Nordics and, specifically, Finland becoming the first European country to sell its debt at negative rates, as interest rates continued to submerge. So this post marks something of a shift. After nearly ten years of effectively zero rates, the Fed has finally opened up the throttle a tiny bit.  Up from ... [Read the rest of this article]
    Date Published
    22 July 2015
    ​Sifting through the sports sections of the papers at the weekend it was interesting to see how much the subject of “risk” regularly features in reports: Was too much being taken in the crash-heavy Tour de France? Which teams will be mitigating more of it in their preparations for the America’s Cup World Series? It would clearly be over-doing it to suggest that the worlds of sport and pension sc... [Read the rest of this article]

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