Primavera for the pension playpen

A baby in a playpen.

A baby in a playpen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I started this blog last night when it was winter and finished it 6 hours later now it is spring.

I certainly have a spring in my step this morning as yesterday we gave ourselves the green light to build a new business that will expand the scope of this blog and bring it together with my other social media venture, the pension play pen.

The big idea is to provide a place where people interested in workplace savings can get information . make comparisons, get guidance and take decisions. We will call this place

There are 1.2 million employers who need to get ready for auto-enrolment. Some will treat it as a chore, some will become enthusiasts, most companies seem willing to go beyond the bare minimum, which is deal with NEST and demonstrate to their staff they have taken reasonable steps to get their staff the best that they can.

Our plan is to as useful and as popular as www,, If over 30% of our adult population gets an e-mail from Martin Lewis every week, then 30% of the business people who will have to deal with pensions can get one from me!

This is no idle boast. For the past three months I have been road-testing an idea that we refer to as “staging for a monkey”. I don’t want to be rude about monkeys or the people who will stage – the monkey is slang for £500!

Using new technology we aim to take companies through the various stages of preparation , getting a project team together, working out the contribution rate and sorting payroll and HR issues.

Once the planning’s done, we’ll provide a quick and easy price comparison service which will allow these companies to see what workplace pensions they can use. The service will organise information so companies can make a meaningful choice. Once they’ve landed on the right option the service will put the chosen provider in touch and trigger a series of next steps which will culminate in the payment of the first contributions within three months of staging.

Most importantly, the service will provide a full audit trail signed off by one of Britain’s leading firms of pension actuaries.

We hope to launch the playpen in early April and have completed work on this “staging for a monkey” by July. We want this service to be ready for the first huge hump of employers who will be staging in the first quarter of 2014.

The model is simple, it works on self-service, the £500 fee is charged to the employer and we hope that it will, for those who cannot reclaim VAT, be a true £500.

The pension providers will pay not commission to the playpen nor will there be consultancy charges. The service will include all providers whose products meet the yet to be decided quality test.

Because it is a technology solution, it will stand and fall on the quality of the technology. That is why we will be spending the next four months working with  pension providers, flex and payroll people to ensure that everything is as slick and easy as you’d expect if you went to gocompare or comparethemarket.

And here is the pension plowman’s vision. This site will not be for pension people, it will be for people interested in pensions. This will not be a site you have to log on to, it will be open to anyone. Like all the best websites it will be free to use. We are not going to create an online community but there will be forums where people can share experiences and places where products will be rated. The site will mature like a good bottle of wine getting richer and more sophisticated with time!

The original Plowman , Piers, was the creation of a 14th century poet William Langland. Piers had a vision of a field of folk who worked together for a common good, each profiting from the other’s endeavour. Piers made Langland famous to this day.

We are the playpen- the famous playpen

and we’d like you to be the first to know, this mild March day!

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
This entry was posted in actuaries, auto-enrolment, First Actuarial, fish, Henry Tapper blog, Martin Lewis, NEST, Payroll, pension playpen, pensions and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Primavera for the pension playpen

  1. henry tapper says:

    Even by my own low standards- to spell the name of my playpen wrong , is a new nadir!

    Apologies all round – I feel like the man who spends the whole day with his flies undone.

  2. Pingback: Cobblers shoes | The Vision of the Pension Plowman

  3. Pingback: “Three into two won’t go”- NO EXIT at Playpen lunch! | The Vision of the Pension Plowman

  4. Pingback: How Payroll won friends and influenced Government | The Vision of the Pension Plowman

  5. Pingback: Interesting….spin is self-defeating | The Vision of the Pension Plowman

  6. Pingback: No learning without doing! | The Vision of the Pension Plowman

Leave a Reply