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Pensioners have gained from QE - says Bank of England

The Bank of England’s (BoE) attempts to prop up the UK’s faltering economy through successive rounds of quantitative easing (QE), totalling some £375bn, has acted to help rather than hinder workers’ pension prospects.

Earlier in the year, consumer groups argued that over one million pensioners  who have bought annuity, an insurance that pays out an annual sum to pensioners after the age of 65, may be left 'permanently poorer' as a result of QE, with experts predicting that it would see annuity payments fall by a quarter.

Despite these dire forecasts, a BoE study has shown that pensioners have gained from QE while the impact on those approaching retirement has been “broadly neutral”.

The Bank also went on to argue that QE had “boosted the value of households’ financial wealth held outside pension funds” by a staggering £600bn or £10,000 per person, if the assets were distributed equally amongst the population. More than half of these assets are held by those aged 55 and over.

The BoE laid the blame for squeezed pension and savings pots on Britain’s slump into a double-dip recession which has been a catalyst for a fall in share prices and other assets.

However, the Bank did admit that QE is likely to have widened deficits on many defined benefit pension schemes but that “the burden of these deficits is likely to fall on employers and future employees, rather than those coming up for retirement now”.

Ros Altmann, the director general of Saga Group, who has previously argued that QE “will harm, not boost, UK growth”, argued that the Bank’s report was “oblivious” to the negative impact that QE has had on the 21m over-50s.

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