Friday, August 17, 2007

Bang goes the pension

Why would a socialist be concerned about the stock marketing going into free fall? Surely I should be jumping up and down at the though of City Fat Cats loosing billions and forming an orderly queue for the nearest available window ledge?

Well unfortunately, as this article from the Guardian reports the plunge in the stock market has sent UK pension funds back into deficit, to the tune of 15 billion pounds.

This will be the excuse for another attack on final salary pension schemes (where a worker’s pension is based on their final salary), with companies forcing staff into defined contribution schemes (where the pension is based on the investment returns from the worker and employer’s contributions).

In a moment of uncharacteristic honesty, bosses at my previous workplace said the move from a final salary scheme to a defined contribution scheme transferred the financial risk from the employer to the employee. Many people who are in defined contribution pension schemes are about to find out exactly that, as the value of their pension plummets in line with the fall in the stock market.

It’s also interesting to see how supporters of the free market react when the sh*t hits the fan. We have the new President of France saying that market freedom did not mean the "law of the jungle". Unfortunately, it does.

Finally, if you want some light relief from this doom and gloom read the wonderful Daly Mash’s take on the stock market slide

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