For all tomorrow’s parties


I would like to think myself a party person and I could have been called the pension piss-head for parts of my career. But I guess there’s a time when you get partied out and such a time was last Thursday.

That evening afforded the pension aficionado the choice of attending

  1. The Corporate Adviser Awards
  2. The Professional Adviser Awards
  3. The Pension Management Institute Awards
  4. Mallowstreet Rocks.

All within a couple of miles of each other in London, all- apart from the Mallowstreet party, costing c£500 per head to attend.

I was up for an award at (1) above. I’d been nagged into putting in a submission and Pension PlayPen had been shortlisted for something. I thought I’d ask the organisers if I could turn up when the gongs were being handed out, in case we won. I was told I’d have to fork out around £450 to do so I sat and sulked at home – in my DJ – as you do.

Like a petulant child I tweeted on the party hashtag and followed things at a distance. We didn’t win (no surprise) . I had a clear head and a clear conscience in the morning!


If publishers can’t make their money from selling content…

There are too many pension publications that churn out low grade stuff ,topping and tailing press-releases.

Many journalists don’t go after news, don’t turn up for press launches, they just sit and wait for someone like me to write their stories for them.

Publishing houses keep going by the funds brought in from these awards ceremonies (rather than by diminishing advertising revenues). Most of these publications should not be in print, they waste wood.

But winning awards at these ceremonies is an essential part of the financial service industry’s marketing strategy. Emails hit my inbox festooned with rosettes earned from gong-bagging at events I’d never heard of. So long as people believe they get kudos from winning awards, displaying gongs and meeting their “award-winning” KPIs , the merry-go-round of these events will continue.


A better way to party!

But there is a proper way to celebrate, promote and reward. As well as these IFA and consultancy events, I was also offered an invite to the Xero party in the middle of Battersea Park on a damp cold February Tuesday evening. This was for clients and suppliers of Xer0’s accountancy and payroll software and (though they had a mini-ceremony before the party, this was better. Around 1000 people turned up – arriving early and leaving late

People circulated, exchanged cards and did business and then danced, drank and nibbled. It was great and it was paid for by hosts who were clear that this was to promote their brand.


The party’s over for the Pension Plowman!

I hope the party will be over for award ceremonies. There have to be better things for online publications to do than to suck money out of the system this way. Xero’s party was a plain and simple promotion to their existing and future customers, we at First Actuarial will be doing the same in a few weeks

My colleagues at First Actuarial have given up on Awards Ceremonies and Pension PlayPen is doing the same.

Apologies to Mallowstreet, I should have supported you, and next time I will.


About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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3 Responses to For all tomorrow’s parties

  1. George Kirrin says:

    I’m not a party person, Henry, so I’m pleased to read about your road to Damascus moment.

    The champagne receptions, black tie dinners etc. do not fit well alongside the experience of many ordinary savers and pensioners.

    I do wish more and more of those in the so-called pensions industry would think first and consider how some of their antics would appear to their reliant customers as “flies on the wall”.

    By all means party if that’s your thing, but pay for it yourself, don’t dress (it) up as sometimes tax deductible “networking”.

    The only awards that should matter are determined by satisfied customers, not by self-serving panels made up of the usual

  2. henry tapper says:

    George- I doff my cap to you! You are absolutely right – customer feedback counts more than dodgy panels!

  3. antfoster says:

    And the same applies to the bun fights known as pensions exhibitions/conferences where the glad handing knows no boundaries and the expense of exhibiting is enormous all in the cause of being seen to be seen.

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