It appears the ex-group chief executive of RBS will gain instant access to a very large slice of his pension pot (overall transfer value £16.63m, as of the end of December 2008) without paying one brass penny in tax.
Not only will he receive his pension largely tax-free, it has also become clear that the additional millions pumped into his pension pot last October in return for him retiring early, have been handed over by the bank in ways that simply would not have been available to most pension scheme members without them incurring significant tax charges. Given that RBS is currently loss-making, taxpayers have had to stump up for a deal that was always out of the question for them.
But this was when my eyes glazed over and my brain furred up:
This is a story of earnings caps and annual/lifetime allowances. A saga of FURBS and its post A-day equivalent, EFRBS. My apologies for dragging you into the impenetrable undergrowth of pension tax planning. But if you want to know just how costly this deal might prove for all of us and how absurdly generous it already is to him, that is where you must go to try and quantify the sheer, breathtaking scale of it.
Nevertheless, it is encouraging that at least one journalist is making the effort to understand the extent to which we are being screwed.