Monday, October 10, 2011

Value of private pensions falls by nearly a third in three years

Workers nearing retirement face a "double whammy" from turmoil in financial markets that will leave them with pensions almost a third lower than those who finished work three years ago.

Research published today suggests that many people with private pensions will be as much as 30 per cent worse off compared with those with similar savings who finished work in 2008, because of a combination of tumbling stock markets and interest rates at a record low.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accountants, said those facing retirement this year would be left "between a rock and a hard place", forced to consider putting off claiming a pension until market conditions improve.

The warning comes after the Bank of England resumed its quantitative easing programme, injecting £75 billion of new money into the economy. That decision alarmed pension managers, who said this would make it harder to fund retirement schemes.

Sir Mervyn King, the Governor of the Bank of England, said the move was needed because the world was threatened with the worst financial crisis in history as major economies slowed and the banking system started to freeze.

Europe's financial woes deepened further last night as Fitch, a credit ratings agency, downgraded Spanish and Italian debt and issued a "health warning" about their banks. more