by Ben Wright
Could this be the financial industry’s Wizard of Oz moment? Andy Haldane, the chief economist of the Bank of England, has, with his customary candour and self-deprecation, pulled back the curtain: although “moderately financially literate” he admits “to not being able to make the remotest sense of pensions”. This gives the rest of us – numerate and innumerate alike – the licence to tentatively raise our hands in the air and concede that, you know what, on reflection, neither do we.
On some levels, Haldane is being disingenuous. Of course he understands how pensions work. He is very bright and they are, conceptually, remarkably simple – you save money while you are working in order to generate an income when you retire. But such simplicity is deceptive, like the board game Go, which has two rules, but can unfold with almost infinite variety.