It was good to see so much interest in my blog about bankers . I hope this wasn’t just from “banker bashers” and that there is some interest in creating better pension structures.
One person who read it commented
DA does not sensibly stand for defined ambition whatever that means. Indeed the essence of it seems to be that it is Undefined. And perhaps Unambitious as well. But most of the ideas swirling around do seem to be rather suitably – Deferred Annuities, in one disguise or another and with investment return etc sharing.
Whilst we cannot admit to looking back nostalgically at the world of with profit deferred annuities, perhaps we should look at how they could be made to work in a mass market compulsory” system
Another wrote to me
I don’t think auto enrolment should be derailed. But I have woken up to the fact that (a) it is an excessive imposition on small employers, who are very different from big employers, and not just a lot smaller (b) as Steve Webb always says and I understand Andy Seed said last week, the fact that big employers have managed to get most of their staff not already in their scheme to join it is a different kettle of fish from asking the other 1.2 million small employers to auto enrol their staff into saving.
Why not get them to do more, manage their workers diets, or having health checks? (which again larger employers or those with high earning staff can cope with arranging).
These comments come together in my thinking because tomorrow I must pretend to be Steve Webb and speak to an NAPF group on what I’d do if I were him.
If I were Steve Webb I would be proud of my achievement getting a unified state pension to the starting blocks and pleased that I had held a broad cross-party consensus on both the management of the DB run-off and the introduction of auto-enrolment.
But I would be fearful of 2015 and beyond, not just for my job but for the legacy that I might leave behind.
Cynics might argue that Webb is busy laying land-mines (pot follows member etc) for his successor. I did not say that – further criticism would see me on Tower Hill with my neck on the block, so no more on thst…*waves to Scottish Lifeco execs at traitor’s gate*
The big worry for me (as Steve Webb) would be that for all the fuss and bother I am putting the 1.2m employers who are yet to stage AE to- they’ll remember be and shout
IT WASN’T WORTH IT!
The hassle of AE can never be justified on any grounds other than the improvement in the pension outcomes for the 10.5m Britains yet to be enrolled.
Which means that we need to spend more time on improving the workplace pensions than we currently are today. We need more DA and less rubbish DC , we need higher contributions and more employer engagement. We want employers and their staff to be proud of pensions.
Yesterday, I spent all day working on a machine that will allow SMEs and micros to make good choices about their workplace pensions at a maximum cost of £500.
Our little group were constantly discouraged by the difficulties of assessing workers, choosing contribution structure, managing on boarding and setting up compliance systems to ensure smooth running of auto-enrolment, none of which has much to do with improving pension outcomes.
It was as much as I could do to convince them that auto-enrolment was a pensions thing.
This “wood for trees” mentality is only to easy to adopt. My inbox is full of offers from advisers keen to offer compliance services and empty with ideas about better pensions.
However, being Steve Webb, I will rise above such petty considerations and in my visionary state, proclaim that all that is needed for auto-enrolment to be a success, are proper workplace pensions to auto-enrol people into.
Well I did yesterday, though not with quite Webb’s pizzazz.
And my team looked at me with a world weary look and said
- Making hard easy. (henrytapper.com)
- “Fair and True” applies to the DWP too! (henrytapper.com)
- Has Webb scotch’d the commission snake – or killed it? (henrytapper.com)
- Who speaks for workplace pensions? (henrytapper.com)
- A message to 1.2m employers who aren’t reading (yet)! (henrytapper.com)
- Waiting for Dunkirk ; The Pensions and Benefits show #pb13. (henrytapper.com)
- “Fit lean pension machines” – an uncomfortable prospect? (henrytapper.com)
- “My word is my Eurobond” – pensions without banks (henrytapper.com)
- “We don’t know what we’re doing”! (henrytapper.com)