The modest lunch , reflected the modesty with which Jamie explained what the People’s Pension is up to.
The People’s Pension is what is called a master trust – a company pension scheme not run by a company but for companies who would rather enjoy the economies of scale of a collective pension than try to set things up for themselves.
What was refreshing about talking with Jamie was that he instinctively linked the success of his business with the benefits to the employers of using the People’s Pension. I could soon see why I had been recommended to speak with him by independent people I trust and respect.
But enough of such unxious sycophancy. Let’s get down to brass tacks.
People’s Pension has a straightforward attitude to its customers, it offers a price for its key service- it’s default investment option, which anyone can understand ;- it’s 0.5%.
It offers a straightforward investment product bases around the passive funds of Legal & General. While their investment product isn’t fancy and doesn’t push any boundaries- it works
It offers limited but effective support to employers staging auto-enrolment and using the People’s Pension as an auto enrolment pension
It has clear , effective member communications that – to coin a phrase – an eleven year old could read.
In short, it ticks all the boxes. It is winning a lot of friends from the organisations who use it, It has an esprit de corps at its Crawley HQ which is refreshing. There is no doubt it is one of the unsung heroes of the auto-enrolment revolution.
Any it has big plans, behind the People’s Pension is Britain’s largest stakeholder pension, run by parent B&CE. Originally set up for members of the Building anc Construction Industry, this stakeholder takes a simple £10 a week from 90,000 building workers and helps them save in a product that is simple and effective. Were many other of the stakeholder products to be absorbed by this single scheme, it would be no bad thing for Britain (and I suspect no bad thing for smaller stakeholder providers).
In its quiet and modest way, People’s Pension is offering genuine competition to other mastertrusts such as NEST and NOW. Its secret is no secret if you talk to its staff- it is genuinely customer focussed.
I talk a lot about restoring confidence in pensions; my confidence in pensions is restored by meetings like yesterday’s. There is a small band of workplace pension providers (of which People’s are one), of whom this country should be proud. They include some insurers and some master trusts.
They are distinguished at root, not by the features of their products (important as they are) but by their willingness to focus on the needs of employers and their staff. They will do the heavy lifting of auto-enrolment and thankfully they are run by people like the aforesaid Fiveash.
Oh and to anyone confused by my call to write-off NEST’s DWP loan with the economic benefits of #Royalbaby George – this was a mischievous joke!
This post first appeared in http://www.pensionplaypen.com