This article is best read to the sound of Muddy Waters 1966 version of “I got my mojo working”, if you aren’t in the quiet carriage, click on the video at the bottom and enjoy your next three minutes.
Many blooming flowers in this garden
On the 11th/12th May I’ll be on the myPAYE/Pension PlayPen stand at Accountex 16, convincing reluctant accountants, book-keepers and payroll experts of the merits of paying attention to a pension. At the same time Hymans Robertson and Aberdeen will be demonstrating the value of Hymans’ Go engagement software as a way of getting employees of large companies to pay attention to their pension.
People have the same needs whether they work for a large employer with a history of properly funding pensions as for an employer with no history with pensions at all. People need to engage, educate and empower themselves to take crucial financial decisions for later life.
Yesterday I met with Jamie Sexton of True Potential and discussed engagement. There is a famous TP client who is contributing £4.65 per day into his pension using his phone to make the payments. Each time he sends money, he is reminded that this is money he is not spending on cigarettes. By giving up smoking, he saved £4.65 and also gave himself a much greater chance of having a long and happy retirement!
Whether it is in the rarefied world of Hymans/Aberdeen or the bustling halls of Excel (Accountex) or through True Potential’s financial advice, we are all moving in one direction.
Working towards a common goal
At a meeting organised by TPAS and TrueSpirit on Tuesday, I heard Ros Altmann explain very explicitly what I had long suspected.
Since April 5th we have had no earnings related element to state pension accrual. instead we have auto-enrolment.
These private pensions we are in, whether the posh ones run by Hymans/Aberdeen or the workplace schemes established by small employers with the help of those at Accountex or the SIPP arrangements established by financial advisers are all about creating the right conditions for people to make up the slack left by an inadequate state pension.
Ros Altmann’s message to those at the round-table I attended yesterday, and at the TPAS event the day before and the PMI conference in between was the same.
That though we may feel we have lived auto-enrolment for ever (well since 2012) the real work is only beginning now.
That we must restore people’s confidence in saving into pensions and that means all private pensions (from large occupational to SIPP with 50 shades between).
That we must use the engagement created by auto-enrolment to educate people about the need to use these pensions in a sensible way.
That we must empower people to use the tools they have, especially these workplace pensions we are setting up, to save appropriately for their future.
Ros Altmann has her mojo back.
So many people have written Altmann off; people have called her personal statement following IDS’ resignation a suicide note. Ministers in her own department stood against her. There were many in pensions that hoped that they had seen the last of Baroness Altmann.
How wrong to write her off! Altmann is back and so is that lost mojo, and she’s kicking butt.
This is leadership of the highest order, bringing people together behind a common purpose with the passion and good grace that is our Pension Minister’s Forte.
Necessarily this involves some kind of vision and that vision of workplace pensions complimenting the new state pension as part of what Altmann calls a Pension Revolution is not hers. Critically she inherited it from its architects Steve Webb and those before Steve Webb.
But crucially , Altmann is not trying to recreate the vision for pensions but encouraging us to engage in what we have already started. This is a considerable step forward and a mark of a mature leader who is ensuring good ideas get enacted.
This has been very missing in the past year since the election. Ros Altmann is back, revived- very tanned -very blue and with a mojo about her which has so far – in her time as Minister- been lacking.