It’s come to a pretty pass when a man can walk into a room full of pensions people , ask a question and not get an answer for the fear of the advisers.
When our good colleague , a company secretary of a major European food producer,asked us our views on who was doing a good job in delivering DC pensions, I thought we would have a proper discussion on the service delivery levels of the various providers that we introduce to our clients.
If this had been top gear , we could have expected a fair and frank exchange of views laced with personal vituperation and a good few laughs.
Where does a man get a straightforward opinion on what he and his company should do?
Our lunch flitted from SIPPs to Mastertrusts, we tried to get some
consensus about which of the insurers were geared up to helping companies with the intricacies of auto-enrolment, we discussed middleware solutions to “opt-outs” but in the final estimate, was our Company Secretary any the wiser?
There are great solutions out there, solutions that range from mastertrusts like NOW and NEST through to SIPPs like Vantage. In the middle are a great range of insured products including group personal and stakeholder pensions, investment platforms, corporate wraps and insured mastertrusts.
There is nothing particularly odd about this range of options. It is much the same when you consider buying a car.
What is different about pensions is that the simple question “which options work” cannot be answered. It cannot be answered because while people are quite prepared to opine as to whether a Ferrari or a Maserati is a better coupe, they freeze like rabbits in the headlights when you ask whether Friends or Standard Life have better service delivery.
The answer is always “that depends”.
There comes a time when enough is enough. When people outside of pensions turn on pensions advisers and ask us to put up or shut up. Questions about whether mastertrusts are better than SIPPs are of course client dependent, no one expects the same answer all the time but I think the general public expects us to have some answers, be prepared to show some leadership.
I left our Play Pen lunch yesterday in two minds. On the one hand I was impressed that we’d had the discussion that we did, on the other I was depressed that the choices available to our Company Secretary did not seem to have been made simpler.
Present at yesterday’s lunch
Simon Kew- Jackal Advisory
Peter Weiner- Pensions Trust
Noel O’Dwyer – Glanbia
Henry Tapper- First Actuarial
Vivi Friedgut- Black Bullions
Clive Worlock- Charles Stanley
Kevin Steinlechner – Radcliffe & Newlands
Steve Power – Punter Southall
Matthew Beaman- Grant Thornton
Paul Munro – Xafinity Consulting
Next lunch- same time – same place Monday 3rd September
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- Why we mustn’t let the Royal Mail “pension solution” become a precedent (henrytapper.com)
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- DC isn’t working says Hymans Robertson- I agree – let’s change that! (henrytapper.com)
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