Channel 4, heal thyself

Shock item today on Channel 4 News, analysing the shortfall in the Local Government Pension Scheme caused by the collapse in the stock market – Faisal Islam reports that “We have assessed Council Investments by comparing them to schemes in the private sector. Large private sector schemes typically hold around 53% in shares. The rest is generally invested in less risky things, like government and corporate bonds. Councils on average invest 62% of their funds in shares”.

A shockingly risky decision?

A shame, then, that the Channel 4 Television Corporation’s pension scheme invested, according to the most recent figures available on their website, 63% of their fund in shares. Will heads roll? 

This appears to be part of a sustained push against public sector pensions over the weekend by the Taxpayers’ Alliance, with a headline in the overexcitable Sunday Express generating a vibrant discussion on ConservativeHome about  Councillors joining the LGPS – which they are eligible to do, since their allowances are treated as a salary (though some very active members of small councils probably have a case that they earn less than the national minimum wage, so best not take the analogy too far).

On a more petty note, it was a shame to see a reputable news outlet using the phrase “hedge fund” as a bogeyman euphemism for “risky”, rather than explaining what a hedge fund is, and why investing in them may have been a sensible idea in a falling market. Well done to the Minister, John Healey, for talking sense rather than taking the easy way out and joining the media in condemning another part of Government.

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