There was a time when the NAPF spoke for pensions. A time when final salary schemes could be coined “Britain’s economic miracle” by a cabinet minister, a time when the policy and advisory agenda was controlled by a handful of super-consultants, a time when information was disseminated through a small group of pension magazines.
In the last five years, the consensus ahs been shattered. Final salary schemes are now in an “End Game” for all but the public sector. For many employees, the idea of company trustees is a memory, their pensions are with insurers or the PPF and increasingly they will be delivered through “Nest”. The hegemony of the big consultants ahs been challenged by a new kind of adviser whose primary focus is on solvency- not benefits.
Who do the NAPF speak for? Do they speak for the insurers, the corporate sponsors, the PPF or Nest,? Do they speak for the holders of personal pensions?
The NAPF has done and continues to do sterling work. But it no longer speaks for the pensions community as its unified voice.
There was a time when you awaited your pension news till the monthly magazines arrived on your desk. Now yo can expect today’s news to be delivered to your desktop within minutes of its creation.
There was a time when you waited for an annual conference to meet with your colleagues, chew the fat and get updated by the great and the good. We can now ask questions on websites that give us a fix on difficult topics within hours.
There are no great and good anymore- the availability of information has meant a democratisation and demystification of the pensions hierarchy. The information revolution has done for the pensions oligarchy what usury did for feudalism and it’s not taken 100 years, it hasn’t taken 100 months!
But at the speed that the consensus collapsed, so we can expect a new consensus to emerge. But where? Here is my prediction.
By this time next year ( I am writing in January 2010) the pensions consensus will have reformed and the new NAPF will be found at a pensions forum called Mallowstreet. I am a member of this site and if you are as passionate about getting pensions to speak with a unified as I am, your next move will be to click on www.mallowstreet.com and join me.