Here’s the deal. You give me £60,000 and for about 20 years, if you’re really lucky, I’ll give you back £1,900 per year. That means I still make about £22,000 profit. Meanwhile, even during that 20 year period I still get to keep any interest that the residue of the £60,000 might make, and you get to pay tax on your £1,900 annual income, which, lets not forget, has already been taxed before you gave it to me. Now that’s what I call a double whammy! Mind you, the really good news is, the less time you live, the better it is for me. Oh, sorry, I forgot to introduce myself, I’m the average British private pension scheme. I used to run things like Endowment mortgages: remember them? In fact, despite what everyone says about negative equity in the US markets being the beginning of the end of the ‘good times’, I think you’ll find that I’d already given you a clue to the future of financial disaster with the horrific returns on all of those endowment ‘bad-boy’ products. I have to laugh at all those civil servants and public sector workers yelling and screaming about the state of their pension schemes. They have absolutely no idea just how bad I am. You see, because I spread my financial virus across so many business sectors and so many people suffer my greed in isolation, there will never be a danger of thousands of disgruntled private pension payers taking to the streets in protest and frustration at what I do. Genius. Oh, and the biggest laugh of all (I love this bit) I’m so protected by legislation that I can’t be forced to give you your £60,000 pension ‘pot’ back. I can tell you this, as your average British pension provider, I’m definitely going to have a good Christmas this year. You might be wondering just how I’ve managed to screw so much cash out of you without anyone bringing me to account. Well, like I’ve always told you my ‘get-out’ phrase has always been that such investments can go up or they can go down. You may even get back less than you paid in: and why? Well I still continue to invest your hard earned cash in the very institutions that have crippled countries the world over. Be fair: what else is there? You know there’s nothing better than bonds and guilt’s, UK and US growth trusts, and lets not forget Euro growth trusts, now, that is funny. To be fair, I know that you’ve absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, and that makes me very happy. Ignorance is bliss – for both of us. I had to snigger the other day when someone suggested that I might invest their pension contributions in gold. How we guffawed back at the office. I mean, where would we store all of those lumps of mineral that just seem to be increasing in value? Now, is there anything else I can help you with? We have an excellent portfolio in loans products at reasonable rates.