Here is a summary of the IGC reports analysed on this blog. If you want to read my assessments in detail, please use the search engine.
I have segmented the blogs as you can see. It may be unfair to label Old Mutual legacy and Prudential mainstream but the Prudential are still active enough in the workplace to merit inclusion in the active schemes category while Old Mutual Wealth (as there name suggests) have aspirations elsewhere.
I used different standards for each segment. Had I applied the rigour I applied to mainstream insurers to legacy providers they would not have scored so well. The success of the IGCs of the legacy providers has been to breathe life into fading coals but they have not been at the cutting edge in the way that the Prudential and L&G have been.
I have been harsh on the asset managers because I expected more, especially in terms of thinking on value for money. I have spoken with Hargreaves Lansdown about the IGC report. At least they have got there, I am disappointed not to see more from TP and IM, if we are to take them seriously as auto-enrolment providers, they need to take their governance duties seriously.
The IGCs have done a good job ensuring that the legacy reviews have been carried out properly and that customers have been treated fairly on matters such as exit penalties.
There’s been a lot of attention paid to default design and pressure bought to bare to ensure members get their pension freedoms.
If ever there was a time for stewardship to appear on the IGCs agenda, it was last year. For heaven’s sake, we had Paris! If we are ever to take “value” as an asset management concept seriously managers will have to cut trading and start managing the assets.
The difficult second album
Next year is crunch year for IGCs. They will have to do more than moan about not getting a steer from Government on VFM, they will have to measure and benchmark their providers in a credible way. That means more than setting up some cosy club as the insurers and fund managers would like.
Next year we will want a proper way to compare workplace pensions, whether contract or trust based that tells us whether we are getting value for the money we are paying in fees and management costs.
The next few weeks will determine whether the IGCs are paper tigers or genuine forces to be reckoned with.