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Employer-run pensions: mutualize

Comment 6th July 2010

I haven't done the work of looking up the exact law but have seen the questions asked.

How to ring-fence employer owned pensions like Mirror Group Newspapers, British Shoe Corporation or Richards_of_Aberdeen?.

I suggest that no employing organisation should be allowed to own a staff pension scheme; that all such schemes should be mutuals. Even the staff of the Prudential, I think, should not be required to keep their pensions with the Prudential and perhaps own a little part of it that shares management.

Why does this matter?

  • I have put this in the "civil liberties" section because I find it wrong that an employer should my wages into his other pocket. I cannot see the money as paternalistic perk. I cannot see the sense in an employee who has had a dispute with an ex-employer then having to write back to them about a pension. It's a nonsense.
     
  • One of my interests in this is that I would like to buy shoe machinary from BSM and I think there are too few mills like Richards of Aberdeen able to spin flax hemp and nettle. Industry suffers because a hard-pressed firm with a big pension is a temptation to any venture capitalist, maybe finding a management buyout, to asset-strip the company legally or illegally.
     
  • One of my interests of course is safe pensions.
     
  • One of my interests is current workers in shrinking companies. If their pension fund is a mutual and the employer dips into the pension fund – with or without permission – then sooner or later the employer will become a staff-owned company and that is a much more stable way for firms like BUSM to go than being passed through a succession of venture-capital buyouts and receiverships. If the employer goes bust and is found to have raided the mutual pension, the reciever will then be working for the entire staff and pension group of the company as well as other creditors. If the employer is above board and asks for a loan from the pension trustees, then a mutual could ask for favours in return like soft lavatory paper or removal of any bullying managers.

I haven't done the work of looking up the exact law and suggesting which paragraphs to re-word, but could have a go if asked.

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