Prince Charles expressed his fears regarding pension funds this week and a recent report filed by financial advice firm Bestinvest, reflects that over 100 pension funds have under-performed in the past 12 months. The report quite candidly names all of the firms who have let their clients down, in particular citing Friends Life and Phoenix in particular as having under-performed their benchmark or peer group by more than 10 per cent over three years running. What does this mean for those whose pension fund isn’t in the hands of one of those named and shamed by Bestinvest?
Predicting the Future is Not Easy
Unfortunately, the terrain at present is by no means easy to predict. One the one hand, you shouldn’t presume that your funds are safe purely because your chosen company has not been mentioned in the financial advice report yet. For only the worst of the worst have been thus far. But by the same token, withdrawing your funds from that company completely could prove foolish as well: it may be that your investment is just about to begin paying off. Therefore it would make no sense to transfer funds into a scheme that, although healthy, may have already peaked. As with all investments there is a certain amount of risk and a large degree of unpredictability. The best approach is to be as informed as you possibly can.
Get Active Now
Given these recent developments, the first step for all investors should be to contact their pension provider and request details of the past performance of in which you are currently invested. You also need to take into account all of the charges, so as to ensure that you’re not being hit with a high-cost pension that is also under-performing. Having said that, if you do find that your fund is under-performing, you shouldn’t categorically get out immediately. Of course, transferring to a different company will most likely equal a number of exit penalties, potential loss of benefits or indeed bonuses. Instead, if you find yourself in this position, contact the Pensions & Wealth Management Services. They will be able to advise you on the best way to approach your specific situation.
Light at the End of the Tunnel
The current climate regarding pensions is undoubtedly a minefield. But by understanding the details of your fund (as well as its past performance) and by seeking the advice of professionals, you will stand the best chance at ensuring a decent return on your investment.