"A recent survey by the Centre for Policy Studies found that total costs for the scheme have risen by 76 per cent since 2009 and fund management costs by 51 per cent for the 2014-15 financial year alone. In principle these funds are “funded” — they have sufficient assets to meet their liabilities for millions of generous pensions linked not to contributions but to average career earnings. In practice the funds face a combined deficit of £47 billion and rising, thanks partly to naively optimistic economic projections. The range of fees paid for such unreliable advice is astonishing. The costs per member for employees paying into the biggest scheme, in Manchester, are nearly double those paid by members of the West Yorkshire superannuation fund. Members of the Cheshire fund pay ten times as much again.
If the 99 funds were merged into one it would rank as the world’s sixth-largest pension fund. Its scale would bring access to top-quality management, dramatic economies of scale, the widest possible range of investment opportunities and, in all likelihood, improved returns. If a single fund is considered a political risk, grouping the 99 into a handful of regional funds would achieve most of the same goals. Either way, the chancellor must insist that they are achieved."
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