What will we remember 2016 for? The Pension PlayPen lunch


The Pension Play Pen lunch group has met every month since December 2008 and is something of an institution at the Counting House. It’s a chance for advisers, pension managers , investment gurus and harmless idiots like me, to spend 90 minutes energetically putting the pension world to right. We “Go Dutch for Lunch, dividing the bill between ourselves- no receipts, no expenses, plenty of vulgarities. This is not corporate, this is pensions of the personal variety!

We were seven and we had seven ideas of what 2016 would best be remembered

  1. The failure of auto-enrolment
  2. The introduction of transparency into fund management
  3. Reform of tax relief
  4. Class actions
  5. Scams and Scammers
  6. The end of DC as a pension (impact of pension freedoms)
  7. Corporate activity

The debate decided that important as corporate activity was on the DB covenant, changes in ownership of our large corporates was not what 2016 would be remembered for.

Corporate Activity was first to be jettisoned from our balloon

Though we all agreed that Pension Freedoms were ripping the pension out of DC, we didn’t see the problems that freedom will bring, surfacing in 2016.

Pension Freedom impact was second to be jettisoned

Though the threat of class actions was high on today’s agenda (the monstrous regiment), the question remained just how such an action might be co-ordinated, this looked like tomorrow’s problem

Class actions were third out of the balloon

Though we were impressed by the way the pensions industry was finally addressing value for money from its funds, we saw the issues of transparency , emanating from improved governance as a little too technical to grab 2017’s pension headlines.

Transparency left the balloon with only three issues

The room was split on pension taxation, with some lunchers reckoning George would deliver a damp squib , others a pension bombshell.

TEE-time was thrown out of the balloon as an unexploded bomb

We were left  with the uncomfortable thought that 2016 would be remembered as either the year that auto-enrolment proved us all wrong and worked for SMEs , or proved Con Keating right and ended up a train crash.

Auto-enrolment- one way or another, was what our lunch group agreed 2016 would be remembered for.


Thanks to the Counting House’s enlightened policy of not charging for two fish dishes, we had a remarkably fine lunch for £15. Colin – happy new year!


About henry tapper

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