Sales and Sales Management Blog

March 8, 2013

Guest Article: “Debtors Face Having Pensions Raided,” by Chrissy Hoey

Filed under: Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 10:12 am

Although this article is written about and for those in the UK, I think it might be a good warning for all about the potential we all face in the current world economy where our security might be as fleeting as a change in the law.


Debtors Face Having Pensions Raided
by Chrissy Hoey

As the UK continues to struggle with its finances and the economy sinks into a triple dip recession, the number of individuals facing Bankruptcy is higher than ever.

However, those who have managed to build up a nest egg for their retirement have been able to protect their future from the hands of their creditors, even if they are stripped of all their other assets….until now.

A new ruling means that individuals who are declared bankrupt could be forced to hand over their pension fund in order to settle their debts.

The High Court case of Raithatha V Williamson has sent experts into a spin, because it challenges the way pension funds have traditionally been treated by Bankruptcy law. The Court decided that the Trustee in Bankruptcy could insist on taking money from the individual’s pension nest egg.

But the ruling is not a blanket agreement and only those aged over 55 could be at risk. Under some pension schemes, individuals are eligible to draw their pension once they reach age 55 and it is these funds which Bankruptcy practitioners will try and nab.

The High Court ruling could still yet be appealed and is yet to have far-reaching consequences, but if upheld, it could ultimately, lead to a change in the law.

Retirement funds had been protected by the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act, meaning that even if an individual was made bankrupt, the money to see them through their later years could not be raided. However, the High Court has deemed that once an individual reaches age 55, they could potentially receive an income from the pension, which in turn, makes it recoverable under Bankruptcy rules. The principle applies regardless of whether the person is actually in receipt of a pension; it is the potential eligibility which is the critical factor.

If the ruling survives a legal challenge, any change in the law is fraught with difficulties…

To start with, groups have already claimed that the ruling is discriminatory, leaving those in their later years facing tougher action than younger individuals made bankrupt.

The lawyer, Damon Watt, for the bankrupt individual in this case, Williamson, said that the impact on older individuals would be ‘disproportionately adverse,’ whilst younger defendants would not be ‘deprived’ of what he described as ‘an essential element’ from their pension.

But the discrepancy between how bankrupts of different ages are treated isn’t the only potential problem that the new ruling could cause.

Private pension schemes are written in different ways and, ultimately, the trustees of the scheme have the say about what happens. In some cases, a request for early retirement can be declined, or only granted at the Trustees’ discretion, leaving them facing the difficult decision about whether to hand over the money for creditors to gobble up.

If the Trustees opt to grant the request from the creditors to pay out the pension early, solely for the purpose of paying off more of the debts, they could face complaints from disgruntled scheme members, claiming they have not had their best interests at heart.

However, many of these types of plans are linked to an employer and have far more rules than other types of private pension. Experts have suggested that whilst this a ‘grey area’ in view of the ruling, in reality, courts could not force discretion to be exercised in a way to suit creditors. But in order to circumvent schemes simply slapping a discretionary label on everything, new laws may decree than in the event of Bankruptcy, discretion no longer applies.

The presiding judge, Mr Justice Livesey QC, denied that the decision would lead to an unfair prejudice and, in fact, argued that the current rules are biased.

In his ruling, Mr Justice Livesey QC questioned why those who were entitled to receive their pension but had not yet chosen to draw it, should be treated any differently from those who were already in receipt of the money. He said that individuals who were declared as bankrupt could deliberately delay taking their pension until after they were discharged, thereby robbing creditors of money, whilst those who had opted to start receiving an income, were forced to hand it over.

The arguments are set to continue for some time but the case is being monitored avidly by those it affects. And regardless of which way the final judgement falls, the implications are likely to be wide-ranging for both those made bankrupt and the debt industry.


Chrissy Hoey is with Baines and Ernst, a credit management company in the UK.


March 1, 2013

Book Review: Principled Selling: How to win more business without selling your soul





All of these terms are on the tip of virtually every seller’s tongue.  We sellers talk about them, we proclaim we exhibit them in our personal and professional life, and we bombard our prospects and clients with the claim that we epitomize them and they can, thus, trust us without reserve.

To a great extent prospects have heard these claims so often and so loudly that the integrity and ethics of salespeople are a running joke.  For many as soon as a seller says they can be trusted the prospect expects to get screwed.

To top it off many sellers work for companies that preach integrity and ethics and then turn around and practice the worst possible business practices.

Many sellers are working hard to be the ethical, disciplined seller they claim to be.

Nevertheless, the question can legitimately be asked if it is possible to sell with integrity.  Can we as sellers be principled and succeed or is selling by its very nature an endeavor that demands a bit of larceny, manipulation and deception?

David Tovey has addressed the issue in Principled Selling: How to win more business without selling your soul (Kogan Page:  2012).

Tovey argues that it is in fact possible—and not only possible but profitable—to with integrity than to sell using manipulation, deception, or by stretching the truth and trying to be all things to all people.

Principled Selling sets forth a comprehensive look at the sales process—both how it has been practiced in the past and how it should be practiced in today’s rapidly changing sales environment. 

The heart of Principled Selling is the five principles of selling:

Principle 1: selling is about motivation not manipulation

Principle 2: profitable relationships require investment

Principle 3: there must be congruency throughout the business development process

Principle 4: long-term relationships depend on being authentic

Principle 5: being human gets results

From those five principles Tovey constructs a process and shows in detail how to find and attract prospects and then turn them into clients. 

Unlike many books that start out and stay in the ivory tower of sales theory, Principled Selling gets down to the real world through the use of case studies and fleshing out the skills and attitudes necessary to successfully sell with full integrity.

If you’re struggling with how to become a fully transparent and ethical seller or if you’d simply like to learn more trust based skills, pick up a copy of Principled Selling—you really can sell more without selling your soul.

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