“Consolidation” is so pension woke.

What is pension woke? The Norwegian’s have been deemed pension woke for banning the above from pension investments. I am constantly minded to write blogs like this (to prove I am not Sid the Sexist)

Sadly I am a 58 year old grey haired bloke who is enjoying a pension based on a very male salary. I am hard drinking, addicted to gambling and had I still had a sex-drive, I would enjoy pornography.

I am in all things that matter so unwoke.


I am “pension woke” – and it’s official

I was talking with a friendly civil servant earlier this week and mentioned that the answer to the problem was “consolidation”.

“How very woke of you!” – declared the pension strategist. I hadn’t thought that being aware of consolidation as a solution consigned me to political correctness but now I come to think of it….

On Friday, I’m sort of chairing a panel of illustrious people from the DWP, PLSA and ABI at a virtual conference run by my friends at DG. If you haven’t got an invite and would like to come along – drop me a line at henry@agewage.com. I mention this as our panel is last thing on a Friday afternoon and I suspect that one or two will be thinking of sneaking off – I am sure that Zoom can accommodate you. But back to consolidation.

We all did a brainstorm last night and came up with the various aspects of consolidation happening among DC pensions (it’s going on with DB pensions and even the State Pension if we think of the single state pension as a gradual consolidation (pace WASPI).

The consolidation has resulted in a little grid which I thought to share because it explains just how much the word “consolidation” is on everyone’s lips – well anyone who’s politically correct or “pension woke”.

Area of consolidation Problem Solution (s) Happy outcome Bad outcome
AE Small pots Threat to provider profitability Pot for life

Small pot bulk transfers etc.

More profitable providers, easier for consumers Poor execution, employer/consumer choice ignored
Small Occupational DC schemes No economies of scale; can’t manage illiquids/TCFD reporting VFM assessments with failing schemes winding up Better DC member outcomes. Makes pension money matter Link to employer broken, loss of MNTs. Dumbing down
Pots at retirement Small pots get cashed out, big pots are drawn down (FCA data) Guidance and investment pathways Bigger pots lead to better investment pathways Scammers operate in this space. Cost of consolidation outweighs benefits
Pension dashboard Long tail of small schemes with poor quality data Consolidate small schemes that can’t get dashboard ready Inclusive dashboard sooner Scammers operate in this space. Dashboard never happens
Pension Providers (especially master trusts Too many not at scale  Tougher regulation (MAF). Market dynamics Bigger better workplace schemes Competition reduced. Loss of innovators – loss of VFM


I’m mindful that Schumacher wrote a book in the 1970s called “small is beautiful”, small is beautiful but big is better.

About henry tapper

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