Why HSBC closing its pension scheme is a ‘wake-up call’
News that HSBC is to close its defined benefit (DB) pension scheme from next summer for all existing members is, to my mind, further evidence that financial freedom in retirement is increasingly becoming a personal responsibility for everyone
The banking giant, which says that members of its DB pension fund will not be able to make contributions after 3Oth June 2014, is the latest in a long line of high-profile firms, including Barclays, which have in recent times announced plans to scrap their pension schemes due to soaring liabilities, driven in no small part by the Bank of England’s quantitative easing programme and increasing longevity.
Indeed, according to research carried out by the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), companies are shutting their final salary pension schemes at a faster rate than ever before. And, the report suggests, those schemes which are – currently – to remain running will change their terms to offer less favourable conditions to their members.
Retirement, a ‘personal responsibility’
This, coupled with the fact the State is clearly going to be able to provide less and less financial support for pensioners due to the ageing population and the country’s ongoing economic woes, and because we’re all living longer, meaning the money has to go further, strengthens the case that everyone now needs to make their own provision for their retirement.
With this in mind, the financial advisory sector and the government need to work together to ensure that as many people as possible are saving – and as early as possible – for their so-called ‘leisure years.’
Sadly, it would appear that unless people truly embrace the concept of putting money aside, they might not be able to enjoy the kind of retirement that they had hoped for.
As various independent studies show, the best way to devise – and, crucially, stick to – a comprehensive strategy to achieve long term financial objectives is with an independent financial adviser. I would urge all those who are wishing for a long, active and fulfilled retirement to contact their IFA sooner rather than later to discuss private pension options.