As I write, I hear on the news of another pension fund that has revealed that it has a significant deficit.  They are going to have to find a source or sources of income to reduce this gap if they are going to be able to continue to give future retirees the pensions that they are expecting, although there is no threat to the income paid to current pensioners.

It made me feel that whilst this may be unsettling for existing pensioners and people shortly to become pensioners of this scheme, they are fortunate that they will at least have a pension above the state provision.  Many of the people who come to the MRBA seeking help are not so lucky.  Many in our industry, in particular interviewers, were not part of a workplace pension scheme, nor did they make provision for a personal pension: indeed they were not encouraged to.  This has changed now with all employees by law offered the opportunity to join a workplace pension scheme.  But for so many of our applicants this is too late.

Consequently we see many interviewers working well beyond normal requirement age in order to provide some extra income; but it only takes an unexpected bill, a car repair bill or major household maintenance, and they cannot cope.  This is when the MRBA can provide assistance to get them over such a hump.  But we can’t provide them with a pension, and so often they have to continue working.  We can only try to be there to pick them up again next time.

I am sorry to have to announce the retirement of Margery Hancock as a trustee and member of the Management Committee.  Margery has been with MRBA for nine years, and has brought her knowledge of benefits and the benefits system which she has gained as an adviser for CAB.  This has been invaluable for the committee to assess benefits for which our claimants may be eligible which could alleviate their situation, but of which they were not aware.  I would like to thank Margery for all her advice and input over these years and wish her all the best in her new role as globetrotting grandmother.

On the other hand I am delighted to announce that Gill Welch has agreed to be co-opted on to the committee.  Gill has spent her career in market research on both client and agency sides, and has been trained as a CAB advisor since retiring.  She will continue to provide us with this knowledge of benefits that has become so valuable as part of our decision making.  We shall welcome Gill to the committee in September.


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