Thunder on the Mountain
I donít know about you, but once I start reading pages of statistics I just canít stop; the more times you look at the way numbers shift and change, the more insights you get.† From this youíll probably gather that Iím still into the ONS statistics that I wrote about in yesterdayís BeeLine.† Well, plenty of you wrote in about that and many of you saw more in the numbers than I did; made me look again with different glasses on.
The big shock in the numbers looks to be that 23,1001 of our occupational pension schemes seem to have disappeared since 2004.† The headline figures are right, Iím sure, but what type of occupational schemes are they that have apparently evaporated?† Looking again it seems likely that many of the missing schemes may be Small Self-Administered Schemes (SSASs) and I suppose thatís not quite so worrying.† The figures donít show it, as they only cover occupational schemes and not personal pensions, but it must mean there is a strong chance that many of the missing schemes will simply pop up in the next set of macro stats for Self-Invested Personal Pension Schemes (SIPPSs).
That, of course, would make loads of sense and would probably provide us with some good evidence of the fundamental way the big shifts in our various pensions markets are occurring in real time.† The shift from occupational to personal pensions is something weíre all aware of as the Baby-Boomers gear up for retirement and as they take advantage of the new post A-Day environment; something Iíve written about here on the BeeHive plenty of times I guess; and something Iím sure to touch on again.† I was reminded by Ms Bruun that I had written on this very topic just last month for Pensions Management magazine and that I ought to let you know about that too.† The article can be accessed on the BeeHive (The Bee Side - How I marvel as retirement looms) and you can get to it by clicking on the link if you want to read it I suppose.
The thing is, the pensions world we are heading for in 2012 is a very different one to the one we inhabit now. Our occupational pension schemes, particularly those in the private sector, will be very different indeed. Most of our private sector final salary occupational schemes are already closed to new entrants; but closing to new entrants is only the first step towards closing such schemes to future accrual. Another figure that I have recently come across in a survey is that one in seven2 of our private sector final salary schemes was closed to future accrual in 2006. Who'd like to guess where that trend might end up by 2012?
Oh, and to finish; Peter, thanks for the title and the encouragementÖ
18 July 2007
1. Office for National Statistics 'Occupational pension schemes survey 2006' dated 10 July 2007
2. Association of Consulting Actuaries '2007 Pension trends survey Report 2' dated 10 July 2007.
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