Socialist Worker

Stock market fall wipes £157 billion off pensions

Issue No. 2125

The plummeting stock markets are having a devastating effect on the pensions of working people.

Some £157 billion has been wiped off the value of “defined contribution” pension schemes, a drop of nearly a third in the year to October.

This amounts to an average loss of £42,400 for each scheme member.

Around 3.7 million workers have a defined contribution pension, where the amount of money they eventually receive is determined by the stock market performance of the fund.

In other types of pensions, such as final salary schemes, the pension is linked to the wages earned by the worker during their employment.

That means the employer takes on the risk of the fund not being sufficient to meet its obligations.

In recent years workers have been cajoled onto alternative plans such as defined contribution schemes where they are exposed to all the risks of the market.

The Pensions Advisory Service has warned that millions of workers with these schemes may not be aware of the risks that are being taken with their money.

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Tue 28 Oct 2008, 18:37 GMT
Issue No. 2125
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