I first met Guy Opperman at a TPAS function when he gave my company First Actuarial a commendation for the work it had done on financial education.
It was one of the first times he had spoken as the Pensions Minister and he made two points
- That he had put himself forward for the job – because he wanted to be Pensions Minister
- That he had asked for the suffix “and financial inclusion” to be included in the title.
I took him seriously and continue to do so today. Guy Opperman hasn’t changed the world (he is only a junior minister) but he has been effective. His major projects, the dashboard and CDC are passing into legislation and nothing major has gone wrong with auto-enrolment. He is not an intellectual as Altmann and Webb are, but he is an enthusiastic advocate for best practice, understands open finance and he has stuck by the job.
If this sounds like an elegy, it’s because we have a ministerial reshuffle coming up and I fear that this may be the opportunity for Guy to advance his career as his predecessor Richard Harrington did.
I met Richard in one of the last days of his job he seemed a pensions enthusiast. I met him a few days after he had moved department, he told me he never wanted to think about pensions again.
I hope this is not the case with Guy Opperman.
Guy – it would be good if you remained in post. Pensions need continuity and your projects need you. You are our first minister for financial inclusion and I hope you will not be our last. But there is so much more that needs to be done for the under- pensioned and you are – after all – on a promise.