A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Friday, July 17, 2009

Banking on a Barclays' pension?

Barclays Bank is in the financial package selling business. That's basically what banks have become. High Street offices with sales people ready to sell a "product". One of the products that banks are keen to promote is the pension. The trouble is one needs an eagle-eyed proofreader to go through the small print nowadays.

It is an irony of all ironies that Barclays has contemplated stuffing their own employees as far as pensions are concerned. The closure of Barclays' final-salary pension scheme to existing members has caused the union Unite to support the idea of strike action.

One has to wonder whether these banks, not just Barclays, have any notion of being proper stewards of other peoples money. All manner of excuses are being trotted out as to why employees should consider themselves lucky to retire on paltry pensions. I know my grandmother use to say to us that there are "starving children in Africa" as if to make us feel grateful but banks are in business to make money for others by investing properly. Over the last few years they have shown themselves to be barely capable of such a thing. In fact, they have been more driven by obtaining bonuses for their own inner circle of self-serving "executives".

I'm not a conservative that blindly supports the antics of business regardless. I have been a trade unionist when in the insurance industry and remember the subterfuge that employers can sometimes be capable of. Ever since Robert Maxwell was caught raiding his staff pension fund we have been told that the funds of companies are millions of pounds adrift. Ostrich-like we have gone on as if this problem can be rectified by a fairy with a magic wand. It can't.

Banks of all businesses should know how to look after their staff as far a pension provision is concerned. Barclays obviously has failed to keep abreast of proper investment. It begs the question who in their right minds would venture into a branch of Barclays to discuss buying a pension policy when those selling the things have such a dim view of their own retirement prospects!


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