Yesterday the spotlight shone on the true mind set of this politician when he proclaimed the British public cannot be trusted to make the “reasonable and sensible” choice in a European referendum.“Nanny knows best” has been the holy grail followed by all governments and civil servants across the whole of Europe, with the magnificent exception of Thatcher, since anyone of us has been old enough to vote. Ronald Regan’s famous line that the nine most terrifying words in the English language is “I’m from the government and I’m here to help” has been forever ignored… until 6 April 2015 that is. Step forward the unlikely hero of the outgoing coalition, Steve Webb. Tuesday this week will forever be known as Pensions Freedom Day. In an extraordinary act of bravery Webb, the pensions minister, persuaded his coalition colleagues to engage in truly revolutionary thought that nanny doesn’t know best and that yes the electorate should be allowed to decide what to do with their pension savings. As sure as the cock crows, this sparked off a cacophony of articles and comment proclaiming such an act to be grossly irresponsible. A gentleman called Hugh Pemberton, writing in the Financial Times admirably summed up the case against Webb’s revolution when he wrote “betting on your ability to manage your savings so you never run out of income is exceptionally risky”. Sadly but typically, like our financial regulator who has remorselessly driven our pensions industry deeper into debt instruments, he has forgotten the virtues of making your own equity investments. For history tells the retiree that over the 20 or so years of his life expectancy FTSE 350 companies pay a rising dividend income stream and, unlike a worthless annuity on death, his estate receives the benefit of that equity investment. Read more articles by The City Grump:
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