As any gardener can tell you, to allow next year’s crop to come through, you need to prune your canes or shrubs or bushes in the autumn. The problem for the next generation of pensions folk is that opportunities are few and are quickly gobbled up by the superannuated supernameries who rely on experience rather than innovation , gravitas rather than energy and conservatism rather than consumerism.
There is an age problem in pensions, as in everything but it’s a problem that is not going to go away by youngsters moaning to themselves. If you are under 40 and want a career making sure that people’s money doesn’t run out before they do, then you should join www.nextgennow.co.uk/ . Not only should you join it, but you should join one of its committees and sub-committees and do something about the problems of diversity that mean too many pension flowers are born to bloom unseen.
Punk happened because of people between 16 and 25, Keats, Wordsworth and Shelley wrote what is worth reading before they were 30. The great entrepreneurs of our age – the Zuckenbergs and Musks created great things before their career paths would have had them off a graduate training scheme.
Don’t let me tell you!
It was great that NextGen sold out the Curzon cinema and great that people came in the rain on a Tuesday night. Those who the rain put off – shame on you – “callow youth” is an epithet that you deserve for there were many on the waiting list whose place you took.
Don’t let us tell you, tell us how much you want it. Go out and start a company like Jonathan Bland did when he started pension geeks. Change the way we write things, the way we speak, the way we behave towards each other as Joe Craig does, go and make it happen like Iona Bain and Michael Watkins – in fact every one of the people in this picture.
Don’t let us tell you how to do it – do it!
My generation should prune and nourish
Succession planning is all about giving youngsters room. Without their academies, West Ham and Southampton would be half the clubs. If you want a Mark Noble to captain your side, give him space to grow into that role. Clear the decks so that your youth policy doesn’t become an expensive vanity project.
People like me have a place, but it is to encourage change. The hard yards of change are being won by organisations like Share Action packed with young talent. Every firm with someone on the Next Committee should be proud of that someone, recognise that someone as wanting more – not just for themselves – but for those whose money may otherwise run out before they do.
We should encourage, cheer on and make way for those who are arriving. Youth is to be cherished. Matt Dodds said it right from the panel at last night’s event, he was the first director of his company to come through the ranks, every other director had been bought in from other companies, he could proudly boast he was the first that ever burst into that silent sea.
It was hugely impressive to see Anna Copestake and Helen Stokes laugh off the patronising nonsense they have had to put up with – by people who can’t recognise the power of diversity when it shakes their hand. Thanks too to Matt Burrell – whose sense of humour belies what he is doing in the public policy space. Kick arse at the ABI Matt.
Things to learn
I’m for mentoring, I had a 21 year old son sitting beside me, who I hope listens to a few things I say. But I’m an observer in this game – not a player.
I hope at future events, where I am sure demand will again outstrip supply, that youngsters hear more from youngsters. There were trustees in the room from firms like Accenture and British Airways, who can tell us what it’s like to be guiding pension decision making while 35 years from retirement themselves, we should be hearing from them.
There are many more young entrepreneurs, a bunch of them at Pension Bee who can explain how pensions can be transformed by technology. I work three days a week from a WeWorks building in the City, I don’t have a desk but I get more done there than I could in a formal office – not least because I pick up from the energy of the 90% of my colleagues who are under 30!
Yesterday I entertained a number of people from the pensions industry, people who could be bothered to get off their backsides and hear what I was doing. They left WeWorks marvelling that a new generation had created a working environment for themselves that was enabling Fintech, Regtech and Pentech to happen.
Pensions cannot expect to be at the front of the queue for change, it is by its nature a “slow-burn” business model! But it needs its youngsters to get smart and organised and collect together – as they did last night.
For the rest of us – and I suspect that is the vast majority of those who read these blogs, it’s time for the people below to give the people above some headroom!
Great to have the opportunity to present at @NextGen_Pension tonight with @PensionGeeks and always good to catch up with @henryhtapper an old head with young thoughts amongst the great young talent in pensions pic.twitter.com/RAPnH7LNZJ
— Robert Cochran (@RobCochran1874) November 27, 2018