Someone else’s job.


Al Rush helping a steelworker in his Time to Choose


I spoke with a nice fellow last week who had been selling his company’s wares to IFAs in South Wales. The talk at the meeting was all about what was going on with the steelworkers. The fellow came away with the impression things were a mess, I asked him whether he had done anything about it – he said “that’s not my job”.

Our propensity to gossip is not matched by our bravery to do things. Re-formatting Al Rush’s submission to the DWP, I had to spend some time exploring its construction and detailed wordings. It was salutary, Al Rush is not someone who considers putting wrong to right, anyone’s job but his.

I don’t want to put noses out of joint, but when I hear people tittle-tattling about Jo Cumbo or Al Rush and whether it is their job to demand action for the steelworkers of Port Talbot, I instinctively ask “isn’t it yours too?”

I spent the first hour of my morning answering emails from steelworkers who had read my blogs, got my email address and mailed me at 11pm on a Saturday night

I’m not sure what I’m asking you really, I guess I just want to know the implications / advantages of whatever decision I decide upon. Whenever you talk to a FA, they do tell of the risks but they also tell of the types of returns you ‘could’ get

This is a man who has a transfer value of £600k having worked his life with British Steel; he is 44 and knows he has 15 years work ahead of him.  The advice he has got would cost him 2% upfront and the “solution” including advice 2.2% pa (+ what he doesn’t see).

He tells me

I was one of the ones that originally had a deadline of the 11th of December but has been extended until the 26th January. The extension has me feeling mixed emotions, I had just accepted that I would be going into the BSPS2. However, with the extended time limit, I now have to think about it all over again

What would you do if you had that email to deal with first thing on a Sunday morning?

I know what Al Rush would do.

I know that Al would read those two statements and hear a man confused and upset, a man who should have been watching Match of the Day on a Saturday night but instead was getting into a lather. Al would have empathised and sympathised.

And before anyone points to my mailer as being intellectually frail, let’s remember that in the last few days, BSPS have made five announcements

  1. That those with bridging pensions would get a decision extension to 22nd December
  2. That o/s CETVs would be guaranteed till January 26th
  3. That CETV paperwork needs to be returned by 16th Feb to give good time for processing
  4. That the deadline for CETV payments is 28th March.
  5. That everyone’s Time to Choose window will be extended to December 22nd.

If anyone thinks that those deadlines are easy to understand and remember, they are forgetting they are experts!

I did what I am sure Al Rush would do, which was to take some time unpicking all the stuff in the mail and making life simple again. This man has no idea why he should transfer, so he should not transfer.

He needs to make sure he has made his election by December 22nd and he can stop worrying.

He is – after all – in the happy position of still having a good job, a good pension and he’s saving 20% of his salary for the next 15 years to make sure he is in good shape when he gets to 58 when he plans to pack things in.

Collective responsibility

I have to admit to being a little depressed that some of my business associates tell me Al Rush and Jo Cumbo are just being disruptive.

On Friday, we hosted an afternoon’s training session for TPAS volunteers who were helping each other make sure the guidance they gave was of the highest quality. They had given up their Friday to this end; they were not being paid – it was not their job to do this.

It is not Al or Jo’s job to care as passionately as they do; they see it as their duty and that’s why they do it. The TPAS volunteers are the same.

Al and Jo and the TPAS volunteers and many others work for others for free because it is the right thing to do. Meanwhile, many people who are being paid to look after people like my mailer, are moaning about “do-gooding”.

Volunteered help is better than no help

The BSPS members have got beyond waiting for help and have formed their own self-help groups (the Facebook pages). They acknowledge the help they are getting from BSPS and its trustees but the groups are filling a gap which has been created by decisions taken by TATA and their scheme Trustees.

I suspect that the anger coming the way of Al and Jo and other “do-gooders” is an acknowledgement that their actions are leaving those who had the primary responsibility for member welfare – exposed.

But anger and frustration against the good guys is not a worthy response. Far better were it that those who have power to help- help and do so with and through Al and Jo and others.

But the best help comes from those who have authority

I hope that in the next two weeks, we will see those in authority, stepping up and taking responsibility for what is happening.

I hope next week that the FCA will reach out and find someone to take on the clients of Active Wealth.

I hope that Al’s bold mission (operation Chive) will be supported by the regulator and the trustees.

I hope that in the days leading up to Christmas, people like the man who mailed me last night, can be given certainty and that their Christmases are not blighted by worry about their pensions.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
This entry was posted in BSPS, pensions and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Someone else’s job.

  1. Stefan says:

    It has been a true honour to be a cog in the machine that was initially creates by Rich Caddy and grew to become a community with one aim of helping people hold onto their hard earned pensions. Henry, Al and Jo will be remembered as honorary steel legends who cared enough when it mattered.

  2. henry tapper says:

    Mistake on dates for CETV paperwork now corrected

Leave a Reply