01 June 1998

THE LATEST ISSUE of the Consumers' Association magazine Which?condemns many personal pensions as a 'rip-off', citing certain endowment policies that yield lower returns than savings accounts. Which? also accuses managers of PEPs and unit trusts of under-performing the stock market. CA's research shows that personal pension-holders typically pay four times as much in charges as members of occupational schemes. Says CA director Sheila McKechnie: 'We can't think of another major industry where consumers get such a raw deal or where companies get away with selling such poor products.'Philip Warland, director-general of the Association of Unit Trusts and Investment Funds stoutly defended his members, pointing-out that not all UK general PEPs aim to compete with the market because 'what their investors want is a low-risk product, and by definition a low-risk product will have a lower return than the market'.