A Transparency Taskforce? Sounds good doesn’t it? Echoes of the Falklands, of Maggie v the Argies (don’t mention the Belgrano)
But the task force that will meet later this morning at the University of London Senate House, at the instigation of the Friends of Auto-Enrolment has less combative intent.
The aim’s for a group of people who give a damn about the workplace pensions we save into, to for a pressure group to ensure transparency in the policies and funds we invest into.
If you are brave, you can read the Pension PlayPen’s lengthy response to the FCA’s call for evidence on what “good” might look like in a transparent world. The Government want pensions which do what they say and don’t have the goodness extracted like taste from an overcooked steak.
To extend the simile, there are too many cooks and they’re spoiling our retirement savings by charging too many services to the net asset value of our funds. Those who have been charged with oversite- the master chefs if you will, have looked on as this went on, and they continue to do so today.
That is because the master chefs – the Investment Association, the National Association of Pension Funds and the Association of British Insurers are hopelessly conflicted, they are in the pay of the chefs they judge.
Enough of food – I hear you belch!
Will things ever change?
Things will change, confidence will be restored in pensions and though the process will be slow, it is inevitable. There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.
This morning the Telegraph – yes the Telegraph- published my angry protest at the Conservative proposals to fund tax breaks for the owners of posh houses by scrapping incentives for people to save into pensions.
Which only goes to show that things do change.
Rage against the night
The point is that if you accept that the world is a murky place, that transparency cannot be achieved, where tax-raids happen because no-one has the voice to stop them, then you’ve just become part of the problem.
Andy Agethangelou of the CIPP, worked out that transparency is important to make auto-enrolment work. We must have faith in the pension plans that we invest in.
He did not grit his teeth in a darkened room, he got out and dragged a whole lot of us into a room in Central London, for a morning, to make sure that this vital issue remained at the top of the pile of things a new Government should be thinking about.
Ring out the bells that ring, forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in
A crack in everything…
This blog isn’t just about the need for transparency in our financial dealings, nor about the Transparency Taskforce – it’s a tip of the hat to Andy for making things happen and refusing to be deflected from doing it right.
We are seeing an election which has been taken over by control freaks, guiding leaders from one staged showpiece to another. And yet, the Telegraph chose to publish someone making some noise on an obscure financial blog, rather than another missive from one of the over-funded parties.
The change that is happening is like a little Arab spring, it’s not revolutionary, more a rebalancing, but at it’s heart is a recognition that voices like the Pension Plowman, the Friends of Auto-Enrolment and of all those who tweet and comment for good- can and are being heard.
There is a crack, a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in!