A map of the known pension world?


It started with Ptolemy


As far as I know, the poet and mystic never went to America, so when he coos to his mistress

O my America! my new-found-land,
My kingdom, safeliest when with one man mann’d,
My Mine of precious stones, My Empirie,
How blest am I in this discovering thee!
we can be pretty sure his knowledge was based on breaking news. America was slowly revealing itself and knowledge of it was recorded by the explorers and the people who recorded their exploration – the map-makers.
Recording a new-found-land must have been fun, you never quite new what was the round the corner and the cartographers of the 17th century had great fun including various sea-monsters inhabiting distant oceans.

A map of the known pension world.

I am preparing to go to breakfast with my friend Mark Scantlebury and we are plotting a map of the known pension world.
It seems to us that the pension world is made up of a number of continents which have drifted apart over time. Rather than one aboriginal species of African originators, pension people now come in different hues and speak different languages.
If you could attain a perspective where you could view all these continents and all the monuments to pension endeavour – it would be a fine thing. Or so we think.
The idea came to us via Mr Stephen Glover, the wonderfully old school conference organise who produces great events with DG publishing. He mentioned he’d like to produce a conference that brought DC and DB, retail and institutional, technology and asset management, platforms and funds – into one event. I believe he’ll be delivering this in June.
Mark and I volunteered to create a map of the known pension world to be delivered to delegates by way of an introduction.  Our breakfast is kicking off the idea and working out the steps we need to take to create the map.

The excitement of new found lands.

If you know Mark, you’ll know he is prone to moments of extreme excitement , when he feels inspiration in others. I know of no-one better at capturing other people’s ideas and retelling them in a new and vivid way. I thought of John Donne’s ode to his Mistress Going to Bed when Mark talked with me of maps last night.

There is another great poem of discovery that comes to mind. John Keats’ discovering Homer through the poetry of Chapman. This is how he describes how it felt to read the book

Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

What links the poetic imagination of Donne and Keats is that sense of discovery and wonder, whether the object of admiration is a naked woman or some lines of poetry. Indeed their lines of poetry recreate the wonder in us readers.

Why a map is so exciting

Of course maps can be very exciting – even if they aren’t charting new found lands. When I am cycling around London, I can discover new things on google maps at the swipe of my phone. I may not be excited by going to Exmouth Market this morning, but I know that in plotting my way there, I will find things along the way, I never knew about.

London being such a huge place, it is to each of us an unexplored country, once we’ve got beyond the few neighbourhoods we know (our manor). Maps are able to bring places to life by pointing out what familiarity ignores.

One of my favorite things is to travel on the top deck of a London bus and check google maps as I go along – rediscovering London as I go.

And how they put things in context

Maps uncover new aspects of familiar places, but they also set places in their context. I always get confused by East London, especially the Isle of Dogs, where the river meanders to such a degree that you can easily forget if you are north or south of it.

Finding where you are on the map is one of those satisfying things, you make sense of your journey so far and where you are yet to go. You understand your context.

Why a map of the known pension world could help us

I think that discovering the new, rediscovering the  old and putting yourself in a wider context with the words “you are here”, is what us pension cartographers should be striving to do.

We should aim to excite with the new and reassure about the old. We should find a way to place our individual endeavours in the context of the pension world around us.

So if you’re lucky enough to get an invite to the DG publishing pension conference in June, look forward to a big reveal, and if you’re not. Look forward to hearing plenty more about our map of the known pension world on this blog!


map holly.jpeg

Current confused picture!

About henry tapper

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