Dr. Ros Altmann is a pensions expert, investment banker, economist & policy adviser who has advised the pensions industry, trustees, corporations & Government. She is Director General of Saga.

Occupational pensions: final salary deficits crisis, new DC schemes


Transfers from Defined Benefit to Defined Contribution can help scheme funding new!
20 June 2014
read the article | send a comment

Ros responded to the Treasury consultation on allowing DB to DC transfers and why this can help scheme funding - as long as proper safeguards are put in place to protect both those who might want to transfer and those who remain in the scheme.


Collective Defined Contribution - why is is right to allow CDC but beware of over-hyping benefits
1 June 2014
read the article | send a comment

Ros explains why the Government is right to permit the development of Collective DC schemes in the UK and explains their potential advantages and drawbacks. She highlights some of the risks, but they are better for employers than DB and likely to be better for members than pure DC


Lessons for US from UK pension policy - flexibility for future retirement plans
1 May 2014
read the article | send a comment

Ros gave a presentation to US investors and plan sponsors outlining what has been happening to UK pensions policy, how it is becoming more flexible and moving towards possible 'hybrid' solutions rather than one-size-fits-all and pure DB or DC. She suggests ways to learn from some of our past mistakes


FT Pensions Expert: How QE has harmed UK pensions
24th February 2014
read the article | send a comment

Ros wrote a 'Talking Head' piece for the Financial Times publication 'Pensions Expert' which explains the damaging impact of Quantitative Easing on UK pensions


USS scare stories overdone
25 October 2013
read the article | send a comment

Ros explains why criticism of the USS pension scheme is unfair


Pension deficits rising despite strong asset growth and employer billions
7 August 2013
read the article | send a comment

Ros comments on latest figures showing that FTSE100 scheme pension deficits rose over the past year, despite a 10% increase in assets and employers pouring around £20bn into their schemes. QE and low rates continue to damage pensions.


PPF can handle UK Coal
1 July 2013
read the article | send a comment

Ros explains why fears about the impact on the PPF of absorbing UK Coal's pension schemes is overdone.


The ACtuary Magazine Soapbox: QE Damage to Pensions
July 2013
read the article | send a comment

Ros wrote an article for The Actuary Magazine explaining that the Bank of England's policies are damaging both defined benefit and defined contribution pensions.


Pensions Regulator eases pressure on UK employers
8 May 2013
read the article | send a comment

Ros comments on the latest Guidance issued by the UK Pensions Regulator, which suggests that employers should be given more leeway in the near term when dealing with their pension deficits.


Unintended consequences of unconventional monetary policy
17 April 2013
read the article | send a comment

Ros spoke at the London School of Economics, giving her views on the dangers of Monetary Policy measures for UK pensions.


RPI no longer a national statistic
18 March 2013
read the article | send a comment

Ros comments on the ONS statement announcing that it will be downgrading RPI, and deciding it will no longer be a 'national statistic'.


tPR objectives - should they be changed in favour of employers?
21 February 2013
read the article | send a comment

Ros responded to the DWP consultation about whether the objectives of the UK Pension Regulator need to be changed to increase its emphasis on employer affordability.


Consultation response on smoothing Pension Fund discount rates
21 February 2013
read the article | send a comment

Ros responded to DWP consultation on allowing smoothing of UK pension fund discount rates


Steve Webb right to warn on Solvency II
20 November 2012
read the article | send a comment

Ros supports Steve Webbs warnings about the dangers of Solvency II rules that may be forced on UK pensions by the EU.


Pension membership at record low
19 September 2012
read the article | send a comment

Press Release commenting on latest ONS figures showing pension scheme members has fallen to record lows, lowest since 1953.


Response to Bank of England analysis of QE impacts
24 August 2012
read the article | send a comment

Ros published a response to Bank of England conclusions that its policies have not damaged the economy or pensions.


QE forces UK pensions into 'death spiral'
2 August 2012
read the article | send a comment

Ros explains the damage being done to UK final salary pension schemes as deficits mount and gilt prices rise, forcing schemes to face a 'death spiral'.


Relax the pension discount rate - current gilt yields are not appropriate
13 June 2012
read the article | send a comment

Ros calls on the Government to relax the discount rate used for calculating pension liabilities


Record deficits for UK pension schemes due to QE
12 June 2012
read the article | send a comment

Press Release commenting on latest figures from the Pension Protection Fund showing UK defined benefit pension scheme deficits are at the highest level ever and PPF blames QE for partly causing the problems


The Pensions Crisis - financing an aging population
10 May 2012
view PowerPoint presentation (pdf, 361kb) | send a comment

Ros gave a presentation to the Briefing Circle outlining her views on why we have a pensions crisis and new thinking that is required to finance our aging population.


Defined Ambition pensions - a good aspiration!
May 2012
read the article | send a comment

Ros comments on Steve Webb's suggestions of introducing a new type of risk-sharing for employer pensions, a half-way house between DB and DC, but where the employer takes back some of the risks that have been passed to workers.


Pensions World - QE damages pensions
May 2012
read the article | send a comment

Ros explains why QE has taken money from people's pensions and given it to borrowers and banks, leaving pensioners poorer in retirement


EU rules set to make UK pensioners poorer
15 March 2012
read the article | send a comment

Press Release criticizing EU rules on SolvencyII and gender-neutral insurance rules, which will make UK pensioners poorer via lower annuity rates, as well as undermining defined benefit pension schemes


Tesco scheme changes pave way for others to follow
15 March 2012
read the article | send a comment

Ros' view is that the latest changes to Tesco's pension scheme, increasing pension age to 67 and uprating by cpi instead of rpi leaves the way open for other employers to follow this lead. However, the Tesco scheme remains a very good scheme for Tesco workers.


ITV News interview on Tesco pension changes
15 March 2012
read the article | send a comment

Ros was interviewed for ITV lunchtime, 6 o'clock and 10 o'clock News explaining that Tesco pension scheme changes still mean the scheme is a really good deal for staff


QE takes more money from pensions than Maxwell did
1 March 2012
read the article | send a comment

Ros highlights that the Bank of England's policy of Quantitative Easing has taken more money from more people's pensions than Robert Maxwell ever did!


FT Letter: Power of Pension Investments Can Stimulate the economy
22 February 2012
read the article | send a comment

Letter published in the Financial Times where Ros explains how using pension fund assets to stimulate economic activity is far better than cutting pensioner benefits or raising taxes.


Providing for your own future
13 December 2011
view PowerPoint presentation (pdf, 233kb) | send a comment

Ros gave a speech at the Eversheds Annual Pensions Conference in London, explaining that people cannot rely on others to deliver them decent pensions, they increasingly have to look after themselves.


Future for occupational pensions
December 2010
read the article | send a comment

Ros gives her thoughts on the future of UK occupational pensions.


FT letter calling for longevity gilts
26 June 2010
read the article | send a comment

Letter published in Financial Times, jointly with Jon Moynihan and Willem Buiter, calling for increased gilt issuance to help pension schemes better match their liabilities.


Pensions Crisis - past and future
27 May 2010
view PowerPoint presentation (pdf, 224kb) | send a comment

Ros gave a presentation at the Credit Suisse 2010 Pension Strategy conference in London, giving her views on the history and future of UK pension policy


The future for workplace pensions after 2012
18 March 2010
view PowerPoint presentation (pdf, 96kb) | send a comment

Keynote presentation at University of East Anglia's forum on Workplace Pension Reform.


UK pensions in crisis
11 March 2010
view PowerPoint presentation (pdf, 96kb) | send a comment

Ros explains some of the background and realities for UK companies offering pension schemes.


British Airways in deep trouble - pension scheme cannot close, what will the Regulator do?
17 December 2009
read the article | send a comment

Press Release highlighting the challenges facing the Pensions Regulator, trustees and management in connection with BA's pension scheme. Most BA staff are covered by employment terms that do not permit any pay cut (or pension reductions) so the pension scheme cannot be closed. This poses major challenge for the Pensions Regulator - will it use its powers?


Pensions Regulator encourages trustees not to be a soft touch
19 April 2009
read the article | send a comment

Ros discusses the latest release from the UK Pensions Regulator, urging trustees to be robust in negotiating with employers about achieving better security for pension funding - this is a difficult balancing act but it is important to try to get it right.


Employers pulling out of pensions – with Government blessing
8 April 2009
read the article | send a comment

Press Release expressing concern that a major UK pensions advisory company is halving its contributions to its money purchase pension scheme and leading the way for other employers to follow. This risks pensioner poverty and worsens our pensions crisis.


Trustees, Governance and Investment Manager Selection post-crisis
24 February 2009
view PowerPoint presentation (pdf, 71kb) | send a comment

Presentation given to Institutional Investor conference in Amsterdam outlining Ros' thoughts on past mistakes and future trends in pension fund investment and trustee investment governance.


Pensions Regulator talks tough on putting pensions above dividends
18 February 2009
read the article | send a comment

Press Release supporting UK Pensions Regulator's statement highlighting that companies should not prioritise dividends to shareholders ahead of making up pension deficits.


Labour's Legacy - destruction of pensions
25 January 2009
read the article | send a comment

published in Scottish Sunday Post explaining that the era of final salary pension schemes is now closing and that Government policy has hastened the demise of a once-thriving private pension system in the UK.


Final salary scheme deficits soar again
5 August 2008
read the article | send a comment

Press Release commenting latest figures showing rise in final salary scheme deficits for FTSE 100 companies caused by falling equity markets and disappointing corporate bond returns.


Final chapter for final salary
August 2008
read the article | send a comment

Article published in the Yorkshire Post explaining why the latest falls in asset prices have led to worrying deficits in UK final salary pension schemes, which will hasten the demise of such schemes.


Keynote speech 'Pension Reform and Reality'
12 February 2008
view PowerPoint presentation (pdf, 110kb) | send a comment

Ros delivered the keynote speech at Professional Adviser's Expert Investor Forum in London outlining her ideas on demography, pensions and the need for radical reform.


Pension Accounting changes recognise reality
30 January 2008
read the article | send a comment

Ros comments on why she thinks the pension accounting changes proposed by the Accounting Standards Board, suggesting that companies should use a risk free discount rate and do not include forecast salary increases, are a sensible idea.


Financial crisis and demographic dangers of current Government policy
1st October 2007
view PowerPoint presentation (pdf, 338kb) | send a comment

Presentation given to LSE conference on Financial Markets Crisis, explaining how savers will be affected and the need to restore savings incentives.


Daily Mail article outlining injustices of Government policy
24th September 2007
read the article | send a comment

Article published in Daily Mail on 24 September 2007 explaining why the lack of compensation for pension victims is indefensible after the hurried bail-out of Northern Rock depositors.


Impact of recent market turbulence on pensions
August 2007
read the article | send a comment

Ros' comments on how the recent turbulence in credit and equity markets is likely to affect pensions, both final salary and money purchase.


Comment on Pension Regulator's issue of its first FSD
18th June 2007
read the article | send a comment

Ros' comments on the new Pension Regulator's issue of its first Financial Support Direction against Sea Containers.


Pensions crisis – past and future
17th April 2007
view PowerPoint presentation (pdf, 68kb) | send a comment

Presentation to the Pensions Trust trustee Awayday in Leeds, outlining the history of the problems in the UK pension system and some thoughts about the future.


Release on Gordon Brown's removal of ACT relief
March 2007
read the article | send a comment

Ros' initial reaction to revelations about the advice given to Gordon Brown in 1997 ahead of his decision to remove dividend tax relief from pension funds, explaining that the decision was irresponsible.


Press release welcoming PPF levy announcement
December 2006
read the article | send a comment

Press Release giving Ros’ reaction to the PPF levy announcement which seems prudent and responsible.


Press Release on Pension Protection Fund investment principles
October 2006
read the article | send a comment

Press Release giving Ros’ view on the Statement of Investment Principles announced by the Pension Protection Fund Board


Concerns about USS pension fund
2 June 2006
read the article | send a comment

Letter published in Financial Times following John Plender’s article about the decision by Universities Superannuation Scheme to leave employer contributions unchanged, despite large deficit and suggesting that asset allocation can help overcome deficits.


FT Trustee summer school – Trustee investment duties
June 2006
read the article | send a comment

Article published in  FTfm for their Trustee Summer School examining the demands for Trustee Knowledge and Understanding (TKU) of investment issues and using modern techniques to replace the traditional hopeful ‘punt’ on equities and bonds.


Financial Adviser comment – scandalous attempts by Government to deny occupational pension policy errors
13 April 2006
read the article | send a comment

Article published in Financial Adviser giving criticising the Government’s attempts to squirm out of taking responsibility for occupational pensions policy errors, despite the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s report showing its guilt in this affair.


Article in ‘Public Servant’ Journal ‘ New Thinking on Pensions’
April 2006
read the article | send a comment

Article published in ‘Public Servant’ Magazine, discussing the future for UK pensions, trends in occupational pension schemes and flexible retirement policies of the future.


FTfm article on swaps and liability matching
February 2006
read the article | send a comment

Article published in FTfm comment section explaining why pension funds may be able to better match their liabilities by using swaps and derivatives, rather than just switching to bonds.


Explanation of possible new structured products to help pension funds overcome deficits
January 2006
view PowerPoint presentation (pdf 124kb) | send a comment

Powerpoint description of a possible structured product approach to overcoming pension fund deficits and meeting liabilities over time.


What is the case for employer compulsion?
December 2005
read the article | send a comment

Additional comments from Ros on the Pensions Commission reform proposals, questioning the intellectual case for compelling employers to contribute to pensions and discussing some of Ros’s reservations about the proposals.


BBC website published Ros’s views on reform of occupational pensions
November 2005
read the article | send a comment

Article published on BBC website discussing the crisis in UK occupational pension provision, problems faced by employers and members and recommendations for radical reforms.


DC pensions issues being overlooked as trustees focus on sorting out DB
November 2005
read the article | send a comment

Article published in Financial Times FTfm November 2005 discussing concerns about a ‘governance gap’ in UK occupational pensions, as trustees and the industry seem to be focussing primarily on sorting out problems of defined benefit schemes, while not paying enough attention to the needs of new defined contribution arrangements.


FT conference, should pension funds be switching to bonds?
20 October 2005
view PowerPoint presentation (pdf 53kb) | send a comment

Speech delivered at FT Business Conference ‘Hidden Treasures in Bonds’ in London, discussing Ros’s thoughts about pension fund asset allocation and the investment considerations for pension funds when considering switching into bonds.


FT letter final salary pensions confidence trick July 2005
July 2005
read the article | send a comment

Letter published in the Financial Times on 7th July 2005, outlining why UK Government pension policy is responsible for lulling members of final salary schemes into a false sense of security, which allowed employers to get away with making pension promises which they could not afford. This is the fault of Government failure to tell members the truth, rather than malicious employer actions.


Global Pensions article giving Ros’s on the risk-based PPF levy
July 2005
read the article | send a comment

Article published in Global Pensions explaining that Ros considers having a PPF essential and the risk-based levy is a sensible proposal.


Financial Adviser feature on future of UK occupational pensions
July 2005
read the article | send a comment

Feature published in Financial Adviser magazine, outlining Ros's views on the future for occupational pension provision in the UK, movement away from final salary schemes and role of financial advisers to help make defined contribution provision work better.


The Pensions Landscape - Actuarial Profession conference
June 2005
view PowerPoint presentation (pdf 55kb) | send a comment

Presentation given at Actuarial Profession Annual Pensions Convention, in Brighton on 7th June 2005, outlining the failure of the UK pension model, the outlook for occupational pensions and the role of actuaries in future.


Global Pensions article on PPF
May 2005
read the article | send a comment

Article published in Global Pensions, explaining the benefits of having the Pension Protection Fund.


FTfm opinion piece on need for including
alternative assets to diversify pension fund investments

April 2005
read the article | send a comment

Opinion piece published in Financial Times FTfm supplement, arguing that pension fund trustees need to consider diversified range of investments, not just equities and bonds and that switching from equities to bonds, if funds are in deficit, may be the least efficient way of reducing risk.


Brief summary of crisis facing UK employers running final salary schemes
April  2005
read the article | send a comment

Brief note outlining the situation facing UK employers running final salary pension schemes and why they are now facing huge deficits.


DC Scheme Governance - trustee based or contract based. - NAPF Meeting
12 January 2005
view PowerPoint presentation (pdf 44kb) | send a comment

Presentation given at NAPF meeting in London to discuss pension scheme governance for defined contribution pension funds, considering trustee based, versus contract based models.


Press Release welcoming NAPF support for improved FAS
January 2005
read the article | send a comment

Press release welcoming NAPF’s open letter to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, supporting Ros’s calculations of inadequacy of the Financial Assistance Scheme and fears for the future of the Pension Protection Fund.


Governance of pension funds - is trustee model suitable for DC?
January 2005
read the article | send a comment

Roundtable discussion at NAPF council meeting on the issue of the appropriateness of the trustee governance model for pension funds, contract-based schemes and governance issues for Defined Contribution funds.


FT personal view on failure of Stakeholder policy initiatives
January 2005
read the article | send a comment

Personal View column published in Financial Times, explaining why the stakeholder savings initiatives have not worked and are unlikely to do so. The target market is not benefiting and providers are not keen to offer these products.


Letter commenting on pension burdens faced by UK employers
November 2004
read the article | send a comment

Letter published in Employee Benefits Magazine explaining why employers have been asked to shoulder too much of the pensions burden and that the 'standard' two-thirds final salary pension has become unaffordable for most people.


Proposals for Pension Protection Fund and New Pensions Regulator
September 2004
read the article | send a comment

Note outlining Government proposals for new Pension Protection Fund and New Pensions Regulator.


Financial Adviser feature on structuring investment options for money purchase pensions
September 2004
read the article | send a comment

Feature article published in Financial Adviser, October 2004, outlining Ros's suggestions for structuring investment options for money purchase and stakeholder pensions, with sensible default options.


Trustee Responsibilities
June 2004
read the article | send a comment

Article published in Financial News in June 2004, examining responsibilities of trustees in both defined benefit and defined contribution schemes.


Presentation on pension scheme governance to SPC roundtable, 22 June 2004
June 2004
view PowerPoint presentation (pdf, 60kb) | send a comment

Presentation made to SPC roundtable on 22 June 2004. Topics addressed include aims of investment for DB and DC schemes, responsibilities of trustees and importance of improving trustee skills.


How to introduce a Financial Assistance Scheme
May 2004
read the article (pdf, 51kb) | send a comment

Practical suggestions as to how to organise a compensation package for workers who lost their pensions on scheme wind-up. This could be a model for the Financial Assistance Scheme, if it has more money.


Letter to FT Supporting Protection for Pensions
February 2004
read the letter | send a comment

Response to letter in Financial Times from leading actuary who criticised proposals to compensate victims of pension wind-ups and questioned the need to protect pensions. Ros’ letter calls for more protection on future, rather than less.


Research Workshop on PPF and Pension Guarantees
January 2004
view PowerPoint presentation (pdf 228kb) | send a comment

Panel presentation on Pension Protection Fund and providing guarantees for pension schemes, 19th January 2004, for Watson Wyatt.


Why We Must Have an Insurance Protection Scheme for Pensions - Financial Adviser
October 2003
read the article | send a comment

Article published in ‘Financial Adviser’ explaining why we need an insurance protection scheme for final salary company pensions in the UK.


The Future of UK Employer Pensions
September 2003
view PowerPoint presentation  (pdf 42kb) | send a comment

Framework for a panel discussion held at Right Angle Partners ‘UK Pension Fund Investment Seminar’ held at Hartwell House on 18th September 2003. This presentation addresses the crisis in UK pension funds and the future for UK employer schemes.


Compensation - Won’t Cost A Penny For Years
July 2003
read the article | send a comment

Article published in Pensions Week explaining why Government must compensate pension scheme members who have lost their pension rights on insolvency and how this compensation will not cost anything for many years.


Letter Published in the Financial Times
June 2003
read the letter | send a comment

Letter published in the Financial Times outlining the failures of UK final salary pensions.


Jumblies Pensions
June 2003
view the picture (jpg 101kb) | send a comment

A picture of how UK private sector company schemes are leaving people unprotected and unaware of the risks to their pensions, while public sector schemes are safe. We need to restore confidence!


What Has Happened To Our Pensions?
June 2003
read the article | send a comment

Article published in Parliamentary Monitor explaining the reasons for decline of UK final salary pension schemes.


What's Wrong with Our Company Pensions?
May 2003
read the note | send a comment

Note explaining why we urgently need to change the UK final salary pension system. Some form of insurance is essential.


Letter Printed in Financial Times 4 April 2003
April 2003
read the letter | send a comment

Letter regarding lack of security for members of UK final salary schemes.


Why Final Salary Pensions are in Crisis. A Solution? 
March 2003
read the article | send a comment

A description of why UK final salary pension promises are now financially unsustainable for most employers and a possible way forward for the future.


Mutual Insurance for Final Salary Schemes - or Risk Warnings
March 2003
read the article | send a comment

Note outlining why wither member must be given a proper risk warning that their pension must be protected.


UK Final Salary Pension Crisis - Possible Solutions?
March 2003
read the article | send a comment

Outline of reasons for the crisis in UK final salary schemes and some suggested solutions.


Why UK Final Salary Schemes Will Move to DC
March 2003
read the article | send a comment

Note outlining reasons for employers to switch away from DB schemes towards DC.


UK Pensions in Crisis
February 2003
read the article | send a comment

A brief note on why Ros believes UK pensions are in crisis.


How We Killed Final Salary Pensions in the UK
February 2003
read the article (pdf 29kb) | send a comment

Note describing how final salary pension schemes have become financially unsustainable in the UK.


Final Salary Pensions and UK Competitiveness
January 2003
read the article (pdf 16kb) | send a comment

Written for Pensions Week, this article reviews how UK final salary pension schemes are sapping UK competitiveness.


Pooling of DC Pensions
January 2003
read the article (pdf 23kb) | send a comment

This article, written for Pensions Week,  reviews the benefits of Pooling of DC Pensions.


Why We Must Protect Final Salary Scheme Members
November 2002
read the article (pdf 94kb) | send a comment


Insuring Pensions
July 2002
read the article (pdf 30kb) | send a comment

A note explaining why mutual insurance for pension schemes should be considered.


Why DB Pension Schemes Are Closing and Why This May Not Be So Terrible
April 2002
read the article (pdf 64kb) | send a comment

The move away from final salary schemes does not have to be a disaster at all. Dr. Altmann believes the demise of DB was always inevitable for private companies and final salary schemes are not always as good as they are currently thought to be.


The Trend Away From Defined Benefit Pension Provision In The UK
March 2002
read the note | send a comment

This note discusses the reasons for closure of DB schemes, how the trend may be slowed and what we need to do to ensure DC works better in the UK.


© Dr. Ros Altmann  |  Home  |  Profile  |  Contact  |  Disclaimer