If I was Theresa May….

may 8

I can understand Theresa May’s frustrations, I am a member of her party and have witnessed her “annus calamitous” up close and personal.

I am a fan of May’s, an endangered species, but I prefer her to alternative models


As a businessman, I am concerned about her threatened interventions on behalf of pension schemes. I suspect that Carolyn Fairbairn and the CBI share such concerns, ultimately companies must be self-determined, they cannot be run by their pension trustees.

Much as I would like, as someone dedicated to restoring confidence in pensions, to put pensions first, I don’t think that putting the sponsor second, is the way forward. If  integrated risk management means anything, it means both sponsor and trustee – if not in harmony – in touch.  We risk breaking that touch point if Government intervenes. We do not want the relationship between management and trustee to become mechanistic.

But I do want to see the Prime Minister exercising her authority so that ordinary people feel more confident about the pensions they are in,

A crack of light?

So while I am against Government intervening further in the delicate touch points between employer and trustee (the Pensions Regulator is quite involved enough), I do hope that Theresa May can find a way to exert her authority in other ways.Light shines on

It was not until a recent meeting I was involved with, where a group of us was discussing the need for legislative change to take forward CDC, that such an opportunity presented itself.

Royal Mail has now announced to the  London Stock Exchange that it intends to set up a CDC scheme which will pay its 140,000 staff a wage for life. The news has been greeted with some  enthusiasm by the market rm shares


The Pensions Industry’s reaction has been less enthusiastic and  is properly summed up by Tom McPhail in Pensions Age.

The plans to launch a CDC scheme will be watched with keen interest by the pensions industry, which has very mixed feelings about the viability of such schemes.”

A rather more partisan statement comes from John Ralfe, commenting in the Times.

John Ralfe CDC

There are substantial headwinds to come and the confidence the market is expressing through Royal Mail’s share price may underestimate the challenges to come.

To make Royal Mail’s plan “viable” will need energy and commitment from Royal Mail and its staff”s union (CWU). It will also need that energy and commitment from within DWP.

Friends of CDC

Putting on another hat, I am a Friend of CDC and one of our aims is to help CDC to happen.

It strikes me that Theresa May would be well advised to make CDC happen too!

  • It doesn’t need involve her with World War III with the CBI
  • It can help improve industrial relations between Royal Mail and its staff
  • It could pave the way for similar settlements in future
  • It does look good on her CV
  • It takes our mind off Brexit
  • Sorting all this out is achievable within the present context.

That last point is debatable. I have now seen sufficient evidence from sufficient actuaries and lawyers , to support this view, but I admit that I am not the expert. I take others word for it – on trust.

Fortunately, I am not the only Friend of CDC, there are others, who are trustworthy and articulate and energetic and who are acting pro-bono as they want to restore confidence in pensions too.

In the gloom the gold gathers the light about it.

It  would be very helpful for Britain if we made 2018 something rather better than 2017 and I do not subscribe to the view that this would  best be achieved by kicking the current Government out.

I still believe that Theresa May is our best bet for a way out of the current complexities. Unfortunately she presides over a party which is denuded of pension expertise and is therefore floundering on the pensions front.

So I rather hope that somewhere in the serried ranks of civil servants and politicians, there is a person who can whisper in the Prime Minister’s ear that CDC might well be her best bet.


lux in tenebris 2

Lux in tenebris

About henry tapper

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

3 Responses to If I was Theresa May….

  1. Gerry Flynn says:

    As much as I agree with your sentiment about sorting out pensions, it will pale into insignificance compared the problems that we will face post March 2019. Mrs May is wearing the Captains Hat but the engine room and the steering wheel are being fought over by those who can see the where we are heading, a bloody big iceberg, and those who believe it does not exist and in fact is the gateway to Navarna.

  2. John Mather says:

    I checked the calendar, it is not April 1st. What are you talking about, the common thread is the Emperor and his new clothes.

    With DB we have a failed model, changing the clothes will not help and with Brexit we have a box with a label no one knows what is in it. When the Treasury reports on the outcome of this rudderless adventure your hero (May) hides the report and the clown from Somerset (RM) adopts the Trump style denial.

    Did RM ever model for the Frys Five boys chocolate bar

  3. henry tapper says:

    Boy – you really got out of bed on the wrong side John!

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