Listening to what is being said.

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Listening to Colin Meech

Colin Meech wins the peace

A couple of days ago, I spent an enlightening hour in Parliament listening to the witness of Colin Meech and Jonathan Lipkin to the Work and Pensions Select Committee.

I have known Colin a few years now and have considered him a firebrand. But –  despite of my teasing – Colin stole the show.

It was “the still small voice of calm” that we heard, not the rage against the machine and it was so effective. Colin made the link between the unseen costs of investment management and the delivery of public services. Not to put a finer point of it, every penny wasted in the City is a penny not spent in a local community.

As Colin and Unison’s primary constituency is the workforce employed by local Government, he sees first hand the impact of unnecessary pension costs on the jobs and wages of those he represents.

You can read Colin’s arguments in this report in Professional Pensions

I found myself – while listening to Meech speak, questioning the thin dividing line between the image we project in our work and the people behind the image. Colin Meech is to many people the militant face of unionism – as it touches our bubble; but in the context of the parliamentary meeting – it was clear to see why he is so integral to Jack Dromey’s advisory board.

A time to listen

Occasionally , and this week has been such an occasion, I spend more time listening to others than mouthing off myself.

I should have written this blog yesterday, but was involved in a number of projects that prevented me doing so.

I have spent some time this week listening to arguments both on costs and charges (see my blog on the excellent PPI seminar) and on the dashboard.

Yesterday was a good day to be listening. Many of us had to put down our phones as we had no 3 or 4G coverage. We had to stop our messaging and look around us. Yesterday evening I went to a wondrous show of art at the National Gallery as a guest of WTW (thanks very much). The silent communion with the paintings of Renoir, Degas, Manet and Cezanne (to name but a few) gives an insight into another way of seeing things, much as listening to Colin.

Yesterday was also a day for me to listen to TPAS and better understand the questions that ordinary people ask about pensions. TPAS probably know more about the things that bother people than anyone. I hope that this knowledge will be fully transferred to the Single Finance Body and not lost as TPAS is subsumed in January.

The less said the better

This morning I will be listening again, listening to the OECD and their findings on the British Pension scene. It is not strictly the day job and I have half an eye to what I am told are “networking opportunities”. Infact – we go to listen , not just to hear the views of those outside our sphere, but to widen our perspective on the day to day problems we have to solve.

Whether it be the OECD, or TPAS or Colin Meech – this has been a week when I feel particularly enlightened.

It’s good to write a blog that sticks with positive thoughts, but then my head is full of the visions of wonderful painters and it’s nearly Christmas!

About henry tapper

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