Why Sir Fred Goodwin’s pension means your pension isn’t safe

What does Goodwin's pension mean?

I don't think anyone could deny knowledge of the old RBS head, Sir Fred Goodwin's retirement account fund and the fact that now Gordon Brown and Labour have begun the headhunt. This has repercussions for all of us and in particular for those who have a pension and their viability.

Firstly, I think that Gordon Brown and the Labour party have taken their eyes off the real problems. I believe that they actually have no clue what they're doing.

In politics (and marketing) there is a principle that says “If you don't know the answer, attack the opposition (competition).” Clearly this is Gordon Brown and Labour saying they are have no ideas on the economy and therefore let's find something else to distract the voters. Meanwhile the economy is in a shambles.

My concern is that a pension is supposed to be untouchable effectively put aside for the future and invested in such a way that over a long time it is untouched by market cycles, bad investments and most importantly, outside influence. That's my definition and as it's the weekend I don't have our resident expert, Dr Dani to ask for the exact definition but this will do.

The attack on Sir Fred Goodwin changes all of this.

The philosophical problem is this…

Sir Fred Goodwin and millions of people pay money into a pension investment vehicle each month, expecting to have a healthy pension at the end. This pension is never linked to performance. It's outside any performance goals in a position and as an employer I cannot say to an employee “You performed poorly this year so I am not paying .” That would be ridiculous and the employer would quickly end up in the employment court.

Just plain thuggery…

I guess Gordon Brown is more of a thug than an ‘international leader' as he would have you think. I watched Harriet Harman this morning on the Andrew Marr show and rather than say that the government could make him hand back the retirement account she stated, “He will not be £650,000 better off”, which implies that if they don't get their way they will resort to plain thuggery.

It's like the new owner coming in and saying, “I don't like your performance over the past years so now I am going to take away your cut ” It just doesn't happen. Not in the real world.

What about the role of the FSA which has done nothing to stop all this? The FSA was set up by who? Gordon Brown. Hmmmm. Could this whole thing just be a case of misdirection? Gordon Brown and Labour know they are ultimately responsible so why not misdirect the public away to Sir Fred Goodwin.

Live with passion,
Brett Alegre-Wood

PS. It's not that I have anything against Gordon Brown – it's just that I hate politicians who are afraid to face up to the hard questions presented to them.

Brett Alegre-Wood
March 1, 2009

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