L&G have championed the idea of the Independent Governance Committee. Before they were a twinkle in the FCA’s eye, L&G had got going and today is the third forum for members of their workplace pension plans.
I haven’t been before but I’m going today and I’m not going for the complimentary tea and biscuits. I’ve a number of questions to put to the IGC, not least when they expect to announce a new chair after “Tricky” Paul Trickett hoofed it to Aviva and resigned. Zurich has got itself a new chair of the staff pension scheme (David Sims replacing Tricky), the IGC should have their’s in place too.
So what’s bugging me? My workplace pension has had a great 2016, Martin Dietz called the Brexit vote and left the fund unhedged – getting default investors a nifty 7% currency kicker, our fund continues to be managed at an ultra-low 13bps (with perhaps 1bp dirty charges to be declared). What’s more L&G seem to have become flavour of the month in UK corporate governance circles, evidenced by former policy supremo – John Godfrey – making it to 10 Downing Street.
Shouldn’t I be smiling happily? Well no! I am arriving this morning with a shopping list of improvements to my Legal and General Workplace Pension that I want the IGC to take to the LGIM and LGAS and L&G Group.
My shopping list
I want to see some of this clever thinking at Group level (Beveridge 2 – infrastructure – long term income streams – ESG +SRI =social purpose) being introduced to the £2.7bn multi-assset fund (MAF) default.
I certainly want to see a version of MAF for those who are at the tipping point between saving and spending their pot and I want that a lot more thought through than the current options.
I’d also like to hear a coherent exposition of the Brexit protections that Martin Dietz and his boss John Roe have in place for us defaulters.
Spending my pot
I want to know what the plan is to help me spend my pot, what effort L&G are putting in to helping me treat my pension pot as my bank account and how L&G is engaging with new payment systems to make my life easier.
Administration and integration with payroll
I want to hear an update on how my workplace pension is being integrated with payroll using the pensionsync and eAsE links. I want to know what strategies L&G have as their plan B if these links don’t work and how L&G are planning to help my companies and the many others we’ve introduced to L&G , in bringing their enrolment costs down.
L&G costs are low, especially for medium sized employers; but how sustainable is this 50 bps price promise? Are L&G investing in the new technologies to replace the archaic systems on which the Workplace Pension Plan is housed? What are they doing in the Blue Sky areas such as the BlockChain? When can we expect to see genuine progress in modernising their creaking systems architecture?
Just how committed are L&G to the workplace. What is all this we hear about their taking a stake in a rival workplace pension provider (Smart). Is this a sign of them pulling out of the market or an admission that they cannot operate profitably in some sectors?
These may sound the questions of a hooligan, I’d like to think that the hooligan and the constructive disruptor are the flip sides of the same coin. One man’s hooligan is another’s disruptor, but unless we get questions tabled and answered, I see little point in calling today’s event a forum.
Look forward to tomorrow’s blog when I hope to have answers to some – if not all – of my questions
Ever the optimist!