Posts by Kevin

Kevin Burge

Kevin Burge

An experienced pension consultant with specific expertise in Scheme terminations - PPF, FAS transfer and winding up.
Kevin Burge

Promotion or relegation?

Spence & Partners latest blog for Pensions Funds Online –

Now that the football World Cup is over and it will be another four years before England fans can in turn be optimistic, pessimistic and then suicidal, it is time to turn our attentions to the Premiership. The so called ‘greatest league in the world’ (arguably only due to the overseas players that ply their trade in it) returns to centre stage.

This of course leads to a frenzy of opinions on who will win, who will be relegated and who will be also-rans. If you are a betting man you can get very good odds on Burnley even reaching the top half of the table let alone anything else.

My mind then turned to the world of pensions and which of the recent initiatives will be at the forefront (for promotion) next May and which will be consigned to the also-ran pile. Read more »

Kevin Burge

World Cup Fever

Spence & Partners latest blog for Pension Funds Online –

I, along with many I suspect, am watching the World Cup and personally cheering for England more in blind faith than any actual expectation of a real result. It was a good performance (against Italy) but the wrong result and I wonder if performance should be sacrificed for a result in the next game.

This brings me neatly onto experts and of course whichever newspaper you may read, TV or radio station you may listen to, everyone has an opinion and of course each person feels that their view is  right. How does a manager ignore all of them and make his own mind up knowing that he will be cheered by some, muttered at by others and downright vilified by a few.

Experts abound in the pensions world and like football experts they too are never shy of an opinion and how do you decide which one is right or indeed wrong, or maybe just has an element of truth about it? The short answer is that you can’t and as such you have to make your mind up but if the experts can’t agree how can anyone be truly confident. Read more »

Kevin Burge

Pension Comfort?

Spence & Partners latest blog for Pension Funds Online –

A recent study undertaken by the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) states that the “comfort” pension level is at least £15,000 p.a. (apparently this figure stands however many people there are in a household) but there is no happiness benefit above £40,000 p.a.

The report went on to say that it found that wellbeing jumps significantly once the income moves into the £15,000 to £20,000p.a.range.

These figures in turn will help to give people a more accurate idea of how much they need to save. A 22 year old earning £20,600 would only need to make the minimum pension contribution to get close to the £15,000 figure taking into account the state pension they would receive (expected to be at least £7500p.a. from April 2016). Unsurprisingly, the older a person is the more they would have to save. Read more »

Kevin Burge

This prestigious cycling event is starting this year in Belfast on Friday 9th May. The race was first held in 1909 and this will be the 97th event. For the actuaries reading this I will just clarify that the event was suspended during the two world wars.

It is held over a 3 week period and the first stages are held outside of Italy every other year  and this year it is Northern Ireland’s turn to play host. Read more »

Kevin Burge

Spence & Partners latest blog for Pension Funds Online –

It appears to me that April kicks off a two to three month conference season for pensions. The great and the good gather at various events to discuss the world of pensions; what had gone well; what the latest ‘fad’ is and what will the future look like.

Now if anyone has ever been involved in organising a conference, or indeed speaking in one, then you will know that a good deal of planning takes place and presentations are normally prepared and well rehearsed. Read more »

Kevin Burge

Spence & Partners latest blog for Pension Funds Online –

No, I have not invented a new name for yet another possible pension scheme design, although it does have a ring to it! The man in the street will probably shrug his/her shoulders and simply see the word pensions and sigh and the rest of us might be a little intrigued.

Why does the world of pensions constantly look to re-invent itself, thinking that the next idea will be the one to “simplify” itself? Perhaps the easiest way to understand why pensions is where it is would be to reflect on equalisation. Mr Barber and his quest for equal treatment began in May 1990 and still rumbles on with several unanswered questions, nearly 24 years later. Is there any other industry that is still to properly address an issue that has been know about for so long, yet still cannot agree how to implement equalised benefits?

Whilst I would be the first to agree that pensions need to be reviewed and refined in order that they can be fit for purpose for the next generation, do we really need to have the constant bickering that goes on in the pensions press at the moment. Read more »

Kevin Burge

Spence & Partners latest blog for Pension Funds Online –

In October, Auto Enrolment celebrated its first anniversary and those of you who remember your school days will know that you were given an overall grade at the end of the year (well you were at my school anyway).

Now you were judged on many things, attendance, behaviour, manners, punctuality, and effort, to name just a few. It was a good year if I crept into B– territory but that is another story; so let us turn our attention to auto enrolment and what grade it should get.

Now if you believe everything that the pensions minister Steve Webb says, then you would definitely be heading towards an A grade, but of course not many people believe anything a minister says so we can probably discount that one. Read more »

Kevin Burge

This week, F&C investments published their 2013 Independent Trustee Survey.  Over 100 Independent Trustees gave their views on a number of issues that effect pension schemes in the 21st century.

One of the key questions posed was “what is the biggest challenge facing lay Trustees”? Just over a third cited insufficient knowledge; a third cited increased regulatory demands while a further third just said they had insufficient time to fulfil their role as a Trustee.

Perhaps as a result of these views there has been an increase in professional Trustees being appointed, a fact that does not probably surprise anyone within the industry. Nearly half of the respondents said that the rise in regulatory demands have led to this increase. Again a fact that is not surprising if you take a moment to reflect on the changes that have been made in the past 5 years and the constant overhauls that have been made to pensions by successive governments. Read more »

Kevin Burge

Avid readers (assuming there might be at least two of you) may recall how I wrote about the Beatles song and when you reach the ripe old age of 64.

Two more statistics have jumped out at me over the past couple of weeks both of which emphasise that pensions more than ever need to hold a much more prominent position in our thoughts.

Firstly the Department for Work and Pensions published a raft of statistics relating to the State Pension Age. I am not sure whether they are trying to hide bad news or jumping on the Royal baby bandwagon but nevertheless have stated that over a third of children born in 2013 will live to be at least 100. This is then compared to when the Queen was born (1926) life expectancy was 70, when Prince Charles was born (1948) it was 77 and when Prince William was born (1982) it was 85. Read more »

Kevin Burge

When I’m 64…

Spence & Partners latest blog for Pension Funds Online –

“Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?”

That famous Beatles line maybe summed up how twenty-somethings viewed 60-year-olds back when the song was written. Their take was that by the time you got to 64 you would need to be looked after and cared for as you probably had one foot in the grave.

In the 1960s private pensions were relatively new, equalisation was still to rear its head (men retired at 65 and women 60 – can we all remember those days?) and people generally died within five years of retiring if they actually managed to make it that far!

Now if we fast forward to the 2013, Read more »

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