For many of us, this will be the first working Monday since December 19th. Christmas and New Year holidays have immunised us against the Monday morning blues. So a return to work for Londoners that includes the ongoing disruption on Southern Railways ( http://tinyurl.com/gttswp8 ) and a full on tube strike in central London http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-england-london-38529140 is going to be tough.
If you are in the capital today, why not come down to the Counting House pub http://www.the-counting-house.com/ and have a pie and a pint over lunch? We meet at 12, eat at 12.30 and pack up so you are away by 1.45 (though you can malinger!).
This week we are going to have a full on debate on investment. In the red corner will be those arguing that the “grant” for pension scheme members is that the pension scheme will pay the pension in full till death do us part.
In the blue corner will be those arguing that the pension has become an uncomfortable hindrance to corporate planning and its liabilities should be removed from the balance sheet asap!).
The two corners have radically different approaches to investment and all that binds us together is the conviction that we should be restoring confidence in pensions!
To put our debate in perspective – here is a graphic from the Bank Underground Blog which shows just what a bull run in bonds we’ve had!
Celebrating 10 years of Pension PlayPen lunches!
We’ve put up the cost of the lunch for the first time since we kicked these lunches off in 2007. This month we expect the average cost of food to be £18 per head (there has been a degree of subsidy in recent months!).
The original lunch was suggested by the man many consider the king of LDI, Robert Gardner who set up an investment program to gear up bond holdings at the Friends Provident Pension Scheme prior to starting Redington. It would be great to see a Redington representative at the lunch but if we don’t , we will drink Robert and Dawid’s health!
On today’s strikes
The unions have the right to call out members in an organised fashion. They are doing so within the law and though it may cause us pain, we have to respect that this is one way organised labour makes demands.
However onerous it makes our journeys, and it will hit those who do not have the perk of working from home hardest, we must resist the temptation to label strike action irresponsible. It takes two sides to have a dispute and we look to both central and local Government to moderate what appear intractable positions.
At a more practical level, today may be your opportunity to try the London Bus System for the first time. Busses used to be a poor cousin to the tube but London is now moving better and busses are more frequent , more comfortable and easier to use than ever before. If you haven’t used them recently, they don’t take cash – use your contactless card (or Oyster) to get the cheapest fare.
Then there are the bikes (can we still call them Boris Bikes?). I use them all the time. The new cycle super highways take you from the City to the West End and Canary Wharf with hardly a visitation to the motorised roads. All you need to use one is a credit card and perhaps a kind cyclist to show you how the ticket system works.
Finally, why not take the chance to see London on foot! It’s the greatest City in the world! I suspect you may find this easier than finding a taxi in the City and it’s wonderful for the post Christmas waistline
Whatever way you choose , I hope you get in to London today and join us at the Counting House for a cracking lunch.
And I hope that the Pension Play Pen lunch makes it another 10 years, debating the great industry issues of the time!
Happy and stress free “first Monday back”! We won’t let a little tube strike get in the way of the diurnal round!