When you hear the word “president,” what comes to mind? Probably the president of the United States, right?
Even though there are many presidents in the world, the word has become closely linked to America. But have you ever wondered why the person in office is called “president” in the first place?
Enter the president
At the end of the American Revolutionary War, it fell to a small group, the Founding Fathers, to decide how this new country should be governed.
The result was a constitutional democracy built on the principle of dividing power among the executive, legislative and judicial branches. At the head of this new governmental system would be a new kind of office: the “president.” This person would lead the government, take responsibility for day-to-day decision-making and be its outward representative.
Naming this new office had proven particularly tricky. Many of the words that seemed obvious, like “governor” and “prime minister,” were rejected because they were associated with the British. Eventually, they settled on the more neutral word “president,” from the Latin “praesidere,” meaning to “preside over.” This term still carried a sense of authority, but was free from any British connotations.
Firms and advisers arousing industry suspicions of wrongdoing will be placed on a semi-secret watch list to warn businesses considering working with them. The Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA) is working on a closed list with names of pensions schemes and advisers that have been flagged up as potential scammers, to be shared among pension scheme trustees and providers.
Margaret Snowdon, chairman of the association, said the goal of the list isn’t to stop any pension transfers, but to raise awareness among trustees and providers when a name in the list pops up, so they can increase their due diligence. She said: “Some providers and trustees have their own watch list. What we are looking for is to create a closed network where they can share this information.” Ms Snowdon is currently in talks with the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, the Financial Conduct Authority, The Pensions Regulator, HM Revenue & Customs and the Pensions Ombudsman to involve them in the creation of the list, which she expects to be launched by the end of the year.
However, details such as how the information will be shared, who will be in charge of the list or how potential legal implications will be avoided are still being discussed, she added. We understand that the FCA is aware of the creation of this list but it’s not involved in these discussions at this time.
Several industry experts, however, have raised concerns about the efficiency of such watch list. Steve Webb, director of policy at Royal London and former pensions minister, said: “As a provider, and particularly as a member-owned business, we are very keen to explore ways in which we can better protect our members’ money at the point of transfer. The idea of a list of receiving schemes where concerns have been raised is an interesting one which should be explored, but it would be likely to raise considerable practical and legal difficulties”.
Yes, we agree, but it is vitally important to protect the public from unscrupulous, individuals who give those of us who give good, solid advice a bad name.
UK inflation has peaked and is now on a downward trajectory, market commentators have said, as latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) dropped from a five-year high of 3.1% in November to 3% in December.
The slight decline, the first drop since June 2017, was in line with expectations and partly a result of a weaker increase in air fares compared to the same month in 2016. In addition, higher import costs because of the collapse in the value of the pound, which has been largely responsible for driving living costs up in 2017, has fallen out of the figures. Sterling has been steadily climbing since the start of the year and was today trading at $1.38, the highest level since the Brexit vote.
CPI remains above the Monetary Policy Committee’s (MPC) forecast of 2.7%, decreasing the likelihood of the Bank of England raising interest rates in the near term. Commentators also predicted inflation will fall back to the BoE’s target over the course of the year.
Viktor Nossek, director of research at WisdomTree in Europe, said: “As expected, CPI inflation has fallen back from its multi-year high to end 2017 at 3%. We have long expected the rise late last year to be capped around this level because of a lack of underlying wage inflation in the UK, and indeed inflation should now begin to slide back towards the Bank of England’s 2% target.”
The Liberal Democrats have called on the Government to correct the “injustice” faced by the Women Against State Pension Inequality Campaign by giving them £15,000 each.
Stephen Lloyd, the Liberal Democrat spokesman for work and pensions says the Government should do so immediately. Lloyd argues successive administrations have failed to help women who are set to miss out on years of pension entitlements because of a change in the rules introduced more than two decades ago. This dates back to Pensions Act 1995 that provided for the state pension age for women to increase from 60 to 65 over the period April 2010 to 2020.
Lloyd appeals to MP Esther McVey, who replaced David Gauke in yesterday’s cabinet reshuffle, to take up the cause of Waspi women in her new role as secretary of state for work and pensions. He says: “This injustice must be urgently addressed. The most practical way of doing so would be for the Department for Work and Pensions to make a sizeable transition payment to each of the affected women to the tune of £15,000 payable immediately, tax free.
“It won’t make up for all the loss but I believe it will be seen as a genuine attempt by the Government to make amends for the shambolic roll-out of the increase in women’s pension age way back from the very beginning, in the mid 1990s.”
Labour supported Waspi women in its manifesto during the June 2017 election.
An estimated £300m in forgotten and unclaimed money is to be released by banks and building societies in order to support disadvantaged people and those trapped in spiral debt.
The money will be sourced from unclaimed bank accounts which have no owner or have been left ‘forgotten’.
An estimated £2bn is currently sitting in these accounts – £330 million of which the government plans to donate to charity.
Minister for Sport and Civil Society Tracey Crouch said: “By unlocking millions of pounds from dormant accounts for a range of good causes, we can make a real difference to lives and communities across the country.”