We are where we are; Brexit is changing things. Brexit is a disruptor of old certainties and a bringer of new opportunities. The pensions and savings industry has grown fat on the old certainties but is now being confronted by populist ideas like “value for money”. What Brexit has done is to give confidence to those wanting change, that change is possible, even in pensions!I don’t think we can accurately predict the impact of Brexit on markets or on the cost of providing pensions. All the predictions made last summer have proved wrong. When I listened to the second half of the super bowl with Atlanta having an “unassailable lead” a commentator reminded us not to turn off the radio, we might wake up as we did on the morning of the referendum. The unexpected happened again.Brexit – Leicester – Trump – New England Patriots, we are learning to expect the unexpected. This is seriously disturbing many people and encouraging others. I sat at the bar with Nigel Farage a month before Trump won. I asked Farage what made Nigel Farage famous, he replied – “you tube”. He told me that twitter would win Trump the White House.Farage described Trump as an imperfect candidate but a necessary agent of change”. I feel the same way about Brexit!
Five game changers that will set us free!
- We break our DB schemes free from the shackles of Gilts plus valuations to benefit from growth assets!
- We establish collective decumulation schemes as default options for those spending their pensions
- That we demonstrate the cost of intermediation by adopting the FCA’s value for money proposals
- That we accept that employers have a duty of care to choose a workplace pension suitable to the needs of their staff
- That we put the consumer and not the pension industry as the beneficiary of the pension dashboards!
Please wish our amendment well!
The statement at the top of this blog is for my friend Dawid who is putting together a chapter of a book for pension people’s reactions to Brexit.
I had to think of how Brexit has changed the way I think. Though I voted “remain”, I have accepted that now I must move on. Moving on has been liberating, Brexit is making me free to dream that some of the things I thought impossible, might be possible.
I genuinely think we will see the five changes I’ve listed above. There are many more changes I could include, including better prevention of scams, a more inclusive charge cap, IGCs and Trustee Chairs who were more effective and above all an engagement in the need to save harder and longer for extreme old age.
But we cannot get people saving longer till we get the infrastructure right. This week we see parliament debating the Pension Schemes Bill and in particular the amendments brought before the house. One of these amendments directly relates to 4 above. I hope – with all my heart – that this amendment is not thrown out. Every amendment debated so far has been – the odds are long against it staying. But in a world where strange things happen, perhaps the amendment will survive!