Blogs by Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson

Michael trained with JP Morgan in New York and, after 21 years in investment banking, joined Towers Watson, the actuarial consultants. Subsequently he was responsible for the running of David Cameron’s Economic Competitiveness Policy Group.

80% of fund management industry redundant

28 November 2016 - Economy

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is to be congratulated on its recent interim Asset Management Market Study. Its robust, independent and damning evidence skewers any justification that active fund management of listed assets is worth the candle.The consequences for the asset management industry are potentially devastating, but radical surgery is ...


The Pensions Dashboard: maintain the momentum

15 August 2016 - Economy

A week does not go by without some learned article lamenting the lack of transparency in the pensions industry.  But perhaps the tide is turning: the Government has now recognised that it is in the national interest to redress the balance in favour of the consumer.  In his last Budget ...


Tough love for a better future

29 July 2015 - Social Policy

The 2015 Spending Review: cultural consequences

1.         Shock and awe: essential

The 2015 Spending Review requests that government departments set out plans for reductions to their Resource budgets.[1]  More specifically, they have been asked to model two scenarios, of 25% and 40% real term savings by 2019-20.At first sight the ...


Time for TEE - The unification of pensions and ISAs

07 April 2015 - Economy

Today, two disparate worlds The savings landscape is characterised by a fundamental schism.  Saving within a pensions framework provides tax relief on the way in (“EET”), whereas subscriptions to New ISAs (“ISAs”) are made with post-tax income, but withdrawals are tax-free.[1]  Consequently, ISAs are “TEE”.                                                                                                      Over the last ...


Auto-protection: better a “drawdown default”?

05 March 2015 - Economy

Following the CPS’s publication of the paper Auto-protection at 55, Professional Pensions published the result of a survey which sought opinions on one of the paper’s proposals, to default DC members into annuities at retirement. This produced a 70% “no” response: worth listening to. But this does not shed any ...


Pensions regulation: governance to the fore?

01 December 2014 - Economy

During the second reading of the Pension Schemes Bill, Steve Webb, the pensions minister, told the House of Commons that the complexities of drawing up the Bill had made him “more sympathetic” to there being a single pensions regulator. Today there are two: The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and the Financial ...


Put retirement saving above politics

02 October 2014 - Economy

The case for an independent Savings CommissionerJohn McTernan, former political secretary to Tony Blair, recently commented that, in the aftermath of the Budget, without consultation, the entire structure of the British pension settlement was torn up by the Chancellor… is the death of private pensions, it is the death of ...


Collective DC pensions: Suspect and superfluous

01 July 2014 - Economy

This article first appeared in CSFI’s Financial World magazine, 1 July 2014.  This year politicians have promoted pensions to top billing, with both the recent Budget and the subsequent Queen’s Speech containing pensions-related initiatives. But the response to them could hardly have been more different. The Budget’s liberalisation concerning ...


Collective DC: the least worst option?

04 June 2014 - Economy

Pensions and politics rarely mix, pension changes usually producing more losers than winners.  That said, the recent Budget’s liberalisation in respect of annuitisation may prove to be an exception. Politically shrewd, no doubt, but we are unlikely to ever know for sure whether it really was in retirees’ best interests. ...


We do not need 80% of active management

12 May 2014 - Economy

CPS pensions expert Michael Johnson writes on the Local Government Pension Scheme. This article originally appeared in the Financial Times on Monday 12 May 2014. Recently, robust, independent and damning evidence emerged that skewers any justification that active fund management of listed assets is worth the candle. For dispassionate observers, it has ...


It is time for a fundamental rethink of how we incentivise retirement saving

11 April 2014 - Economy

This article was originally published in City A.M. THERE is a scene in The Italian Job in which the gang is testing how to gain access to the contents of a security van. The resulting explosion destroys the vehicle, prompting Michael Caine to comment, “You were only supposed to blow the ...


Public service pensions: Parliamentary Ping-Pong, anyone?

29 March 2013 - Economy

Just when you thought it could not get any worse... it has.    In 2011, the OBR started to forecast the cashflow shortfall between public service pensions’ contributions and pensions in payment. Six years ago this was an irrelevant £200 million, climbing to £8 billion last year. It has to ...


Pension saving: bring back the 10p rebate… And goodbye higher rate relief

20 November 2012 - Economy

With speculation in today's FT that the government is considering changes to pension tax relief for higher earners, Michael Johnson - author of CPS publications 'Pensions: Bring back the 10p rebate' and 'Put the Saver First' - writes on why he believes savings incentives need to change. The Treasury spends a vast ...


Auto-enrolment: A pensions experiment that could turn out to be an interim measure

01 October 2012 - Economy

Michael Johnson is a CPS Research Fellow and pensions expert. He recently authored the CPS publication "Put the Saver First" and was Secretary to the Conservative Party's Economic Competitiveness Policy Group.As auto-enrolment (AE) kicks off, in a spirit of muted enthusiasm, attention should be turned to one of the AE-eligible schemes: ...


Public sector pensions; a catastrophe for UK plc

04 November 2011 - Economy

Centre for Policy Studies Research Fellow and pensions expert Michael Johnson blogs for Conservative Home on the deal offered by the government to public sector unions, in what Tim Montgomerie has called one of the most important blogs on ConHome for some time. Yesterday’s concessions by the Coalition, in respect of ...