At precisely the same time, the Pension Play Pen debated the relative value of actuaries, investment consultants, lawyers and financial advisers to Britain’s future pensioners, but in two different towns.
These lunches , which have been taking place since 2009, bring together anyone who is prepared to get way from their desk and pay for what they eat. The principle is the same as created the Lloyds of London insurance market which formed but yards from our London base at 50 Cornhill.
The idea is that these lunches spring up autonomously around the country and so far we’ve seen outbreaks of lunching in Manchester, Leeds and Reading. The lunch in Bristol and anticipated lunches in Edinburgh are much to be desired. They require people who are prepared to organise and make these things happen and people for whom the pleasure of interacting face to face overcomes the default of browsing the internet over lunch.
This blog will continue to report on the activities of the lunches, not because they have any special value, but because they always seem to give insights into pension matters. They can be reviewed by pressing the “Pension ” category which can be found to the right of what you are reading.
Our thanks go out to Jenny Davidson , Director of Comps and Benefits (EMEA) at CSC who chaired out London lunch while I was in Bristol priming the pump with some cash, kindly supplied by First Actuarial, designed to prime the pump.
We have received a total of 52 messages of support from Play Pen members and a wider constituency of pension people in Bristol and though the majority could not attend yesterday (July 2nd), let’s hope that all will attend further lunches which we plan to hold at the Elephant in St Nicholas on the second Monday of each month.
In London town, six bright individuals namely
Bill Whitehead – Pentrus
Stav O’Docherty – Independent Consultant
Robert Ingles – Financial Reporting Council
Diane Cheeseman – PWC member nominated trustee
Stephen Cohen – independent consultant.
met at the Counting House public house in 50 Cornhill, London EC2 at 12 for 12.30pm.
It was particularly good to welcome Robert and Diane for the first time.
There task was to decide what should be chucked from the pensions balloon. It is reported that our luncheoneers had already thrown out the media and TPR (Pensions Regualtor) before the balloon took off.
At the end of the discussion there was unanimous consent to throw out the Investment Consultants and the IFAs for the harm both have done to UK pensions.
IFAs were blamed for misselling, mistrust and bad reputation.
Investment consultants were chucked for a variety of failures
- Providing a one size fits all approach,
- offering no value add from new ideas or new approaches,
- having too little accountability
- offering no link between their performance and their fees.Lawyers were jettisoned for creating a culture of litigation and finding grounds
for dispute (Prudential court case on RPI/CPI quoted as an example by Stav).
Actuaries were criticized for focussing on the wrong things but , seemingly for an absence of other faults were retained to fly off into the (DB) pensions sunset.
The Pension Play Pen , met for the first time in Bristol at the Elephant Pub in St Nicholas St (which had kindly opened its doors just for us).
Henry Tapper -First Actuarial
Richard Leigh – TLT solicitors
Simon Catlin – The Lost Coin
Steve Bryce – Lansdowne Place
Graham Beveridge – Lansdowne Place
Sophia Hunter- Hall – Charles Grubb
Caroline Stephens – independent educationalist
Paul Ayres- Independent pensions IT consultant
Hazel Bloomfield – Premier
Caroline Blackwood – Osbourne Clarke
Craig Martin – Pension Manager of The Environment Agency
Profuse apologies were received from several others, notably Chris Crichton , Matt Dorrington and Tom Mcphail.
The party determined that lawyers and IFAs should be dumped to earth.
These drastic decisions were based on pure prejudice.
Lawyers were damned as the fount of complication. Arguments that it was Government that was to blame fell on deaf ears when the party was reminded that the Government was mainly lawyers.
IFAs were chucked for their poor record and their seeming inability to get to grips with the new regime introduced as a result of the RDR. Calls that more advice would be needed post auto-enrolment were countered with cries of “not from you”.
Unlike the London lunch, investment consultants were kept out of the basket so , despite criticism that actuaries had failed to properly predict mortality trends, they were retained as the architects of the pension and its proper guardian.
Consequently, both from the determinations of the London and Bristol groups, it is clear that actuaries rule pensions (if not the world).
- Member of the Conference of Consulting Actuaries (MCCA) (moneymanager.com)
- Now I speak actuarial (henrytapper.com)
- Financial Education – why we do it- why we love it! (henrytapper.com)
- The best opportunities for Actuaries in 2012 (actuaires.wordpress.com)
- Faith, Prayers, and IFA (cantbeme.com)
- Doctors need to get real on pensions (henrytapper.com)
- Europe to reject IFA commission ban (ft.com)