Ten Top Pension Pairings


Morecambe and Wise, Bogart and Bacall Ant & Dec – great couples all but who would you choose as you top ten pension pairings?



Gubler and Mudge               Kim  Gubler and  Hayley Mudge are an unlikely partnership bonded by a common love of animals  (they like me).      

Do not be deceived into thinking their kindness to horses and dolphins makes them any kind of pushover. Kim Gubler Consulting is where you go when you need judgement , experience and a cool head.

In the pantheon of pension eccentricities, the Gubler/Mudge partnership ranks high.

O’Boyle and Huss- Smickler

Kevin and Leslie are the corporate strategists at BT responsible inter-alia for keeping this mega-corporate comfortable with its pensions scheme’s massive deficit.

This takes a little doing. But in Kevin (aka Bumble) and th admirable Smicklemeister are nothing if not up for that challenge. They have the rare mix of food humour and extraordinary technical talent that goes down well both with trustees and the hard-nosed sponsors of a pension scheme better termed an insurer with an IT company in tow.

apologies for the fadeless mugshot of Leslie. HE has yet to supply the internet with a representation of his visage.

Mingle and Charles

Though now reclusives in Witney Oxon, Paul and Steve can never be far from our hearts. Steve came to our notice as Bacon and Woodrow’s AVC loving actuary who  could re-type the instruction “to re-draw Cox” into Hewitt’s supremo’s nick-name “red-raw”.

Nowadays, the cuddly twosome work out of Witney in Oxfordshire for the strangely name Isinglass Consulting.

Isinglass (pronounced /ˈaɪzɪŋɡlæs/, /ˈaɪzɪŋɡlɑːs/) is a substance obtained from the dried swim bladders of fish. It is a form of collagen used mainly for the clarification of wine and beer. It can also be cooked into a paste for specialized gluing purposes.  (thanks Wiki))

Steve has written two fine books; Lows Highs and Balti Pies and Alison in Wonderland. They refer to Steve’s lifelong adoration of the light blue side of Manchester. I had the gall to criticise the former on Amazon and deeply regret the impact this had on our personal friendship May 2011 see a renewal of our former camaraderie. Charles sprang to prominence as the rounded Lothario  of the West midland Pension Scheme, working alongside the legendary MikeWoodall. He is but half the man he was in those days (stomach-wise) but his endearing bonhomie and spectacular intellect remain as evident as ever.

Sadly we have no pictures of this pairing to draw from the intellect so we show instead the lovely phizzog of Alan Davies who bears an uncommon resemblance to our lovely couple. We have also included a copy of Steve’s masterpiece in the hope that you will track it down on Amazon and purchase a copy.

Gardner and  Konotey-Ahulu

This lovable duo were formerly bankers with the truly horrible Merrill Lynch where they flogged their Bank’s dodgy wares to unsuspecting Pension Schemes as what ahs become to be known as Liability Driven Investment.

More recently they have become embroiled in social media and have picked up the cudgels of the pension industry to re-brand the NAPF/PMI/ACA/ IOA et al as mallowstreet.

Mallowstreet is the natural home of controversy on such arcane subjects as the RPI/CPI debate, the  market for ver the market derivatives and the need or not for mark to market accounting.

We love them well and well have they earned their place in the pantheon of pension pairings.

Bretnall and Alexander

Philip Bretnall and Lesley Alexander are a new pairing, so new that you may not have gathered that they are respectively COO and CEO of HSBC Bank Pension Trust (UK) Ltd. This reads pretty well on Linked-in where they appear as CEO and COO of the Bank itself.

Lesley was formerly Pensions supremo at the troubled EMI while Philip has seen his share of pension troubles at the Pensions Regulator and latterly ITM.  We attach what Dorset Folk humorously refer to as “a silent women”, to boot a representation of a headless torso in the hope that we do not excite Lesley’s wrath and remind her that we do need love Alexander. Philip, known to us all through his support of various Pension Playpen lunches is noted for his caustic wit and brevity – qualities to be admired in a COO – we wish them well in their new roles.




Salt and Hulme-Vickerstaff

Hilary Salt and Michael Hulme-Vickerstaff are an unlikely pairing. 

Mick comes from Leeds and Hilary from Manchester. Hilary support the Reds and Mick supports another tem (guess). That they are mates and co-founded First Actuarial shows the power of actuarial alliances that conquer everything.

That they had the good sense fo hiring me to represent their fine company speaks volumes for their judgement.

The world needs more plain speaking, pragmatic, pro-active, professional (that’s enough p’s(ed)) actuaries like them.

The world needs independent actuaries, independent in means who  ow no favours to insurers, banks or other shareholders. Independent in though, independent in spirit and independent of the legacy of actuarial thinking that besets so many firms. Hats off to Hilary and Mick for their independence.

Whitehead and McClean

When I was a kid in this business, Bill Whitehead looked after me when and many others. He’s never asked for anything back but here’s this- coming back at you Bill – you’re a top man.

Bill and Simon set up Pentrus in 2009 to provide some solid trusteeship to firms that understood the need to keep the lid on risk. We’re happy to see things going well for them

Simon’s a fearsome blogger and a good mate who knows how to cook a sheep on an open fire and a fair bit more I’ll be bound.. Bill is the Treasure of the Pension Playpen and a fine man of the turf

They have earned their place in the hall of fame.

Kemp and  Callaghan.

It takes a lot of guts to open up a mastertrust in the middle of a banking crisis but that’s what Dennis Kemp and Malcolm Kemp did. Now unknown as Superturst UK, their multi-employer DC pension scheme is a fine example of what can be created by forward thinking determination sprinkled with the star-dust of courage.

Cracking men both, we salute you as a tope pensions pairing and wish your trust well in this crucial year.

Sadly , though we have been able to positively identify Malcolm, we can only head that the goalie of the Canadian ice-hocky team picture above is the same Dennis Kemp who manages Carillion’s pension and Supertrust UK.

We have but two pairings remaining.

Young and Wasserman

These two scallywags are the Pension Regultor’s two strategic directors with responsibility for formulating pensions regulations in a tricky time for pensions.

They’ve had no shortage of practice. Andrew Young was the architect of the excellent Pension Protection Fund while Simon Wasserman has in his own words ”

 Applied technical ability and professional experience on strategic compensation, employee benefits and pensions, demonstrating innovation and creativity. Has particular in depth expertise on all aspects of pensions provision.

 Not shy in coming forward – our boys in Brighton! I love them dearly!

Webb and Duncan-Smith

Last but not least we must tip the hat to the two ministers who currently run the pensions and wider welfare briefs.

We have suffered for many years from incompetent, uncommitted and weak pension and welfare ministers. It is time that these important roles get the ministers they deserve. For th first time in a generation we have a pair of politicians who put the strategic interests of those in old-age above the short-term interests of their parties and themselves.

Let’s hope that their big pension projects, auto-enrolment, NEST and the Citizen’s PEnsion reach fulfillment and are the success they promise to be.

The boys from Whitehall are welcome at the top table.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
This entry was posted in NEST, pension playpen, pensions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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