There were three peerages created yesterday for services to pensions , all three deserved. Frank Field and Helena Morrissey are high profile and fly their own flags, Bryn is less well known but no less deserving.
Brinley Howard Davies, usually known as Bryn Davies (born 17 May 1944) is a British trade unionist, actuary and politician who was Leader of the Inner London Education Authority in the early 1980s – so starts Bryn’s wicki entry
During his time at ILEA , Bryn defiantly opposed the prevailing political zeitgeist returning to pensions in n 1985 as a Director of Pensions and Investment Research Consultants. Later that year he was appointed as a Research Actuary at Bacon and Woodrow, and resigned from the GLC and ILEA.
In 1989 he set up Union Pension Services Ltd., a consultancy on occupation pensions specialising in those for trade unions. He was also director at Pensions and Investment Research Consultants in 1984, chairman of the Independent Pensions Research Group in the 1980s, pensions officer at the Trades Union Congress from 1974 to 1981, and member of the Occupational Pensions Board from 1976 to 1981. He has been a fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries since 1974.
Bryn continues to work in and write about pensions and frequently comments on this blog.
Bryn’s influence on me
Although not a left-wing firebrand, I have been influenced by Bryn Davies. He understands how pensions work and is authoritative on unfunded pensions. He taught me how the State Earnings Related Pension worked and explained to me how the original plan for it , devised by Bryn , Tony Lines and sponsored by Barbara Castle, was diluted and ultimately dismantled first by the Thatcher Government and by a succession of right leaning politicians till it was dissolved into the single state pension by Steve Webb.
Many people, me among them look back at SERPS as a noble vision of rewarding the low-paid with a proper top up to the state pension. Along with the late and lamented John Shuttleworth, Bryn showed me how pensions can be the reward of hard work – for everyone. The cost of delivering a pound of pension under SERPS remains well below the cost of any funded pension. Bryn Davies gave me, a salesman of funded pensions, a fresh perspective and a renewed sense of purpose to restore people’s confidence in retirement planning.
A reward for a lifetime of industry on other’s behalf
Now in his mid 70s, Bryn is still a force for good. I have drunk beers with him at First Actuarial parties and eagerly read his comments on this blog. Bryn himself blogged on the Union’s Touchstone Blog
A man of immense integrity and gravitas, Bryn is most generous to those who reach out to him. I can remember conversations with Hilary Salt, Jon Spain, Douglas Anderson and Chris Daykin where Bryn has indeed been the Touchstone
Another actuary wrote to me last night a simple message
“At last I have a voice in the Lords, Bryn Davies.”
Bryn , like Gareth Morgan , speaks for people who have no voice and I am very proud that he has been nominated by Keir Starmer for a life peerage. Bryn’s voice will be heard in public again, 36 years since he last held public office.
Good article, Henry. I am glad to see my old friend Bryn duly recognised and bringing his wisdom and expertise to the legislature. I have mixed feelings about the Lords, preferring abolition or an elected chamber, but so long as it exists, there should be a voice for state pensions as well as a cogent monitoring and critique of government policy.