“Not ducking the big decisions?”

The ABI conference “Free to Retire” sounds like a showboating convention for the great and the good, or at least for the new DWP Ministerial team.


Braun, Briggs, Opperman and Cridland


We had been promised “big decisions” that wouldn’t be ducked by the new DWP Secretary of State.


Gauke – not ducking

The ABI had a “radical” agenda designed to ensure the big decisions would not even be discussed…ABI9


Cue banality

Gauke was keen to tell us there was no appetite for reform of the pension tax system.


Of course , fundamental change was exactly what the Treasury (for which he was a minister) had consulted on for a year, concluding that a change would come. But no!



As damp squibs go, this went! It was – as John Ralfe would have it “a damp squid”


The damp squid was speechless (as was the squib)


Auto-enrolment under threat from austerity”

Lesley Titcomb of the Pensions Regulator tried to ignite some proper debate by pointing out that unless people got a pay rise soon, the opt-out rates when AE contributions go up next April, might be approaching the DWP’s 2009 estimates.

Sadly she did not go so far as to accept that many of the lowest earners enrolled aren’t even getting their “Government Incentive”.


The fate of the low-earner was also addressed by John Cridland


It would seem one outcome of the current AE review will be to include the fake self-employed (AKA – GIG workers) into auto-enrolment. Note to policymakers, until you sought out the NETPAY problem, you are digging a deeper hole all the time


What a load of waffle!

Thank goodness for Jo Cumbo’s tweets, the conference carried on as the ABI clearly intended, ducking any form of contention in favour of bland generalities.

Did anyone have anything to say about the Asset Management Market Study, or pension transfers or the consultation on costs and charges. Was anyone talking about the ridiculous state of the platform market, conditional pricing or the demise of advice for all but the wealthy?

Above all, where was the debate on how we spend all this money we are spending.


About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen, Director of First Actuarial, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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