James Coney  

Defend against sophisticated con tricks

James Coney

James Coney

Scammers have successfully undermined their own customers’ confidence in them all. Advisers could well be next and need to be on their toes. Do not be complacent and think this could not happen to you.

In this case, the tale of the client did end well, but no thanks to the police, who fobbed off the man’s queries when he went to a branch.

No, it was Barclays Bank that stopped the fraud. And the adviser was able to act quickly to stop the investments being cashed.

CDC considerations

Regular readers will know my deep reservations about collective defined contributions schemes, and in particular my fear that postmen who are in the nation’s trial scheme, do not realise what they have signed up to.

Now the actuaries who are part of the Royal Mail scheme, namely Willis Towers Watson, have issued a load of guff (sorry, press release) that uses their own research to suggest that CDC will be 70 per cent better than a defined contribution scheme and 40 per cent better than a defined benefit scheme.

Some of the difference was down to different investment strategies and because in the DC pot it was considered that savers took out an annuity.

The fact that the comparison starts with the idea ordinary savers take out annuities is obviously a major stumbling block from the start. What most want these days is flexibility.

This aside, the primary selling point from advocates of CDC is that these schemes give stability.

That overlooks one crucial factor though, and places a lot of faith in the ability of actuaries, but in both an annuitised DC pot and DB scheme you will never get a cut in your retirement income, with CDC you might.

That is a pretty important thing for a pensioner.

Leave the housing market alone

The longer this housing market rally goes on, the more the disparity between the haves and have-not grows. I feel sorry for first-time buyers, but the government’s suggestion that it may underwrite 95 per cent LTV loans is madness.

Every intervention in the housing market just adds to the rise in prices. Enough fiddling.

James Coney is money editor of The Times and The Sunday Times