Julian Knight: Thanks a lot, Sir Fred. Now please slither into history
So The Shred gives up part of his pension; we're still furious, but it's time to move on
Sunday 21 June 2009
Bless Sir Fred "the Shred" Goodwin, who in an act of pure Mother Teresa-style selflessness has voluntarily given up some of his huge pension – available at age 50, 10 years before the normal retirement age – secured during the death throes of his disastrous time at the top of RBS (now, in effect, government-owned).
Putting aside the burning question of how Sir Fred can possibly be able to live on a pension of a mere £342,000 a year, (perhaps we ought to organise a whip-round for him? Oh, I forgot, the Government has already done that for us), what's really important about Sir Fred's decision is that it doesn't damage the principle that once a pension is given a company can't come along and take it back. There was a real danger that because of the stupidity and immorality of giving The Shred such a bumper retirement pot in the first place, a fundamental principle of worker/employee relations was going to be ditched.
OK, I reckon there is barely a person in the UK who wouldn't have liked to see Sir Fred lose the lot – particularly the thousands RBS workers made redundant this year– but, by bringing this about, there was the possibility that others, outside of the grotesques of the banking world, may have suffered down the line.
As for Sir Fred, maybe he feels that with so much righteous anger being targeted at MPs, this is the time to start the rehabilitation necessary to emerge back into public and business life. Part of me would hate that – It would confirm that the old-boy network is more brazen than ever – but another part of me thinks that, really, we need to move on from Sir Fred. After all, anger also sucks the life out of the person feeling it. Collectively, we'd probably be better off to draw a line under him and the other bankers, and leave them, hopefully, to the cold, clammy embrace of obscurity.
Insurers make merry
The first indication from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders of how successful the Government's car-scrappage scheme has been will come this week. My Fiat dealer told me the other day that he has seen a dramatic upturn in trade since the scheme was introduced. This is only one dealer, of course, in a prosperous part of the country, specialising in the sort of small cars that would likely be within the price range of those taking advantage of the £2,000 grant for trading in their old bangers, so it's hardly definitive proof. But it's not just my dealer who is making merry – car insurers are joining in with the imposition of, in my view, unwarranted and over-the-top "mid-term adjustment" fees. This catchily named fee is levied whenever a customer changes cars during the life of a policy.
Now it's fair enough that if you change from an old banger to a brand spanking new motor you should have your premium adjusted, but what justification do the insurers have for levying a fee as high as £35 for just carrying out the transaction? They would argue it's an extra administration cost, but surely all it takes is a few minutes' conversation and some documents through the post. We are possibly talking pennies, not pounds, here. The truth is it's just another way of squeezing the consumer, in the same way that if you want to cancel a policy you have to pay a hefty fee. I remember two years ago paying £45 to get out of a £350 motor-insurance contract.
I have been concerned for a long time that car insurance is not honestly priced. Take a look at any price-comparison site and you will see huge differences in terms and conditions. Drill deeper and the "mid-term adjustments" and cancellation fees are hugely different. Some insurers even charge interest on policies paid for by monthly direct debits. Ever since I have been in personal finance journalism, I have had insurers bleating about how car cover is actually a loss-maker for them, it seems that their way around this is confusion marketing and the imposition of unfair fees.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
Questions of Cash: What are my rights if my leak is caused by neighbours’ roofs?
Pension mortgages: 'The advice I was given was wrong and now I face losing my home'
Best savings rates are not all they might seem
Bargain Hunter: Win a Bentley competition to be driving in a winter wonderland
Mark Dampier: Maybe boom, maybe bust, but we'll probably just muddle along
- 1 Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
- 2 Margaret Thatcher 'expressed fears of Asian rising' at Anglo-Irish summit in 1984
- 3 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public set to see exhibits from police’s grisly crime museum
- 4 Sussex couple die in suspected Christmas Day 'suicide pact'
- 5 The Unluckiest People of the Year 2014 (and one very unlucky giraffe)
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
iJobs Money & Business
Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...
Not specified: Selby Jennings: Quantitative Research | Global Equity | New Yor...
Not specified: Selby Jennings: SVP Model Validation This top tiered investment...
Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...
Day In a Page
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens