#NESTinsight19 – worth it!

The world’s most pampered think tank?

Released from the bondage of the catheter, yesterday I made the short way from Tapper towers to the offices of JP Morgan for a day with NEST Insight.

NESTinsight is a think tank, this might conjure up a vision of a lonely platonist in hist tower but it’s not quite that spartan. NEST Insight’s conference was supported not just by JP Morgan but by Vanguard, Invesco and its research by LGIM. I was getting gratitude fatigue well before the end of Will Sandbrook’s opening address.

There is a serious point here, good as it is that NEST Insight is not making further inroads into NEST’s £1,200,000,000 taxpayer loan, we’ve got to remember that it is blowing the research budgets, not just of the financial services companies sponsoring, but of a lot of other research projects that do not have NEST’s glamour. Be careful what you spend guys.

This is highly hypocritical of me as I spent whatever time off I had wolfing down the posh nosh, making up for three days of hospital food (thanks JP).

Universal pension credits?

The “context” of the event was given us by Will Sandbrook but while he spoke news broke of a rather alarming statistic which rather put the valiant efforts of NEST to get us to save more in the shade.

The reality of life in Britain today is that only 6 out of 10 people so poor as to need a top up to their state pension – are claiming. There were noises off about the pride of the working class not wishing to pick up means tested benefits, that’s Orwellian bollocks. Four out of ten people don’t claim pension benefits because they don’t know they can or they don’t know how to.

If the Government really want to help alleviate poverty in older age, they need to concentrate on the here and now, not just the future. We may become sufficient in time – thanks to Sidecars and behavioural economics but there are desperately poor people in Britain right now who should be auto-enrolled into pension credits.

Perhaps a bit of NEST Insight’s budget could be spent working out why – in the 21st century- with RTI and universal credit – we cannot get the right money into the right hands at the right time

Universal pension credits – my arse!

Enough moaning!

The rest of the gig was good. I particularly enjoyed the lunchtime session with Madeline Quinlan (despite me calling her out for telling us we should be “making the self-employed save”.

The work NEST is doing with IPSE and the DWP to work out what is the solution to Matthew Taylor’s problem is going down the right paths. I wish it was going quicker but this is a big big project and the thorough research looks proper to me.

I’m hoping that this research will be in the public domain before too long. It is vital that we get the self-employed back interested in pensions (though not at the expense of them losing their entrepreneurial instincts!

Good to see women to the fore.

There were some good panel sessions and for the first time in my memory – a four member panel without a man in sight.


You’ll have to follow my tweets for details of this and other sessions.

A good day and – despite my moans – a worthy day

We need the kind of thinking that the programme gave us, we need to think about behaviour and triggers and how to change things in a big way with small nudges.

We need to challenge NEST Insight, which is prone to being too much in the industry’s pocket. We need to challenge the DWP for getting flabby – thinking NEST Insight is doing its job.

Most of all, we don’t need to be complacent. Those 10.5m savers, 7m of whom have got NEST accounts are looking for decent outcomes. It’s one thing to save, it’s another to be financially capable of managing a wage in retirement.

If people can’t even get as far as picking up their pension credits, we know we have a lot more to do- by way of defaults – than we are doing today.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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2 Responses to #NESTinsight19 – worth it!

  1. Julie Richards says:

    And where is the employment/employer perspective in all of these “worthy” discussions? after all, without the willing support and by-in across the board spectrum of employers, this all risks just becoming a compliance driven replacement for S2P
    Or are somewhat patronising, generalisation from the Ivory Towers of academics and financial services (with their vested interests) going to continue to dominate the debate?

  2. henry tapper says:

    Good points Julie, questions were asked about employers but they were not answered.

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