UK Pensions – State of the Nation

I received a letter from the company that I am hoping will be able to provide me with a pension later in my life. I was a little bit stunned by its contents. Here’s a snippet:

I’m a little worried that the procedures required to prevent such an error were not already in place. It begs the questions: what other procedures are not in place and what other mistakes could happen? And given that this is an illustration of what I might get from my fund, how do they know that it’s precisely 15% higher than it should be? And why should I really care? After all, they could have corrected this supposed error over the course of the next 20 years and I would have been none the wiser.

Frankly, the UK’s pension industry seem to go out of their way to confuse and baffle the general public (of which you and I are members). They [the pension providers] make transfers between policies and providers either impossible or very costly, frequently citing government regulations for their inflexibility and inability to honour the customer’s requests. Since we are no longer in a job-for-life culture, this means most of us have at least one pension fund for each job that we’ve had. I’ve given up trying to consolidate some of the small pension funds, every time I’ve tried: no can do.

The UK pension providers and those who are responsible for writing the government legislation behind the crazy rules that make the pension industry so rigid, so inflexibile and so incapable, really need a rocket up their backsides to make them realise how daft they’re being. They’ve created a real mess with today’s pension industry. Either they realise this and go about sorting it out, or they should hand over their operations to some folks who do know what they’re doing (although, I can’t say that I know who those folks might be, sorry!)

Perhaps I’ll just have to hope that I win the lottery or the premium bonds?

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