- Life offices report significant falls in group pension business as the financial crisis continues. Scottish Life’s group pensions fell by 19 per cent in 2009, while Aviva’s fell by 55 per cent and Friends Provident’s by 26 per cent.
- Some providers start to boost commission ahead of the RDR clampdown due at the end of 2012. Focus on pensions charges leads to increased scrutiny of charges on actively managed investment funds. Fears grow in the group risk sector that it could be brought into the scope of the RDR, although this does not come to pass.
- LibDem MP Steve Webb becomes pensions minister as part of the Conservative-led coalition government.
- Advisers and clients bemoan annuity rates that pay £5,897 a year level benefit to a 65-year-old male with a two-thirds spouse’s benefit on a £100,000 pot.
- Scottish Widows pilots its My Money Works wrap proposition.
- L&G goes live with regular premiums into a corporate Isa.
- EU proposes pan-European protection fund for both DB and DC.
- Insurance premium tax is increased from 5 to 6 per cent.
- Justice minister Kenneth Clarke agrees to forego the £2.3m grace-and-favour pension that comes with his title of Lord Chancellor. Speaker John Bercow initially refuses to follow suit, but after sustained media pressure agrees to forego half his entitlement, keeping a £1m benefit.
- George Osborne introduces a £50,000 cap on pension contributions, described by Hymans Robertson partner Chris Noon as more punitive than Gordon Brown’s infamous raid on DB schemes.
“I think the Tories will win outright and, if they do not get a majority, they will govern with a minority. If you were them, that is what you would do, because if we cause trouble they’ll call another election.” LibDem pensions shadow Steve Webb, January 2010
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