The language of trust..Pension Play Pen Lunch- Monday


The Pension Play Pen lunch on Monday (Nov 3rd) will be led by Mark Scantlebury of Quietroom and will discuss the language of trust.

The point of the Pension Play Pen Linked in group is to get nearly 6000 people to work together to help restore confidence in pensions. We started out on October 30th 2009 so in our first five year term, we’ve got quite a number of people with different backgrounds,jobs and outlooks behind that general aim.

But we are still miles from restoring confidence in what we do.

In our view there needs to be a general cleansing. Much of this is going on. The work of the DWP in cleaning up workplace pensions is complimented by that of the FCA in cleaning up retail plans. The Pension Regulator is ensuring auto-enrolment works and sorting out the attacks of those who are trying to liberate pensions into their bank balances.

But the language we use about pensions is far from transparent.

Steve Bee in his latest blog- back to basics- mourns the loss of phrases such as “the basic state pension” and “the old-age pension” for a “single tier pension”. He is surely right, the state pension is basic, it is for those in old-age and the fact that it is now a composite of S2P and BSP is only of any interest to Pension Geeks.

There is a movement to ban the use of “pension” because it gives the wrong message. People like Michael Johnson believe that pensions are already dead and are happy dancing on their supposed grave. But people are not afraid of the word pension, they just want pensions to be fair and benefit those who pay into them, not just those who run them.

Mark Scantlebury’s consultancy, Quietroom, focusses on the language we use to describe what we are about and – all too often- Quietroom has to rewrite the words we write and teach us not to say things in the way we are used to say them.

My firm, First Actuarial, used Quietroom to make-over the way we talked about saving for old-age. they’ve had a profound effect, we’re forever pulling each other up when we use language that isn’t jargon-free and confronts our audience with expressions that are defensive and offensive.

I do hope that we’ll see you at the Counting House at 12 for 12.30pm. Typically the food and drink bill is £15 ,we wrap up by 1.45pm and it is always brilliant fun.


About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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