Compassion for the pension liberated


We have two strong women to thank for today’s news; Jo Cumbo and Margaret Snowden. I could add other strong women who have stood up and fought for themselves having been scammed – Sue Flood and Manita Khuller , who have both featured on this blog. I will also mention Angie Brooks for her work in Spain  bringing offshore advisers and platforms to public scrutiny.

I doubt it is coincidence that the most effective work bringing the plight of pension victims to light, has been carried out by women. Most of the harm has been done by men. Compassion is a very female quality.

Light at the end of a decade long tunnel

This week saw news of  the failure of the authorities to better help the 7700 steelmen relieved of their BSPS pension rights. Jo Cumbo and I were on the Zoom conference and I know Jo’s blood boiled. A few hours later she was on twitter at her campaigning best.

What followed was a good journalist joining up the dots…

Coincidentally, Margaret Snowden had been speaking on pension scams at a meeting of the Pensions Net Work the previous evening. I had written to her thanking her for her work for victims and commenting that though we are mindful of the vulnerability of those locked down, to scams, we need to remember the victims of decade long persecution from HMRC – which Jo talks of above. I was preaching to the converted – nay the “convertor” – if anyone is going to get change for these people it is Margaret Snowden. Margaret did not miss her opportunity and tweeted…

The power of the feminine intelligence

Lesley Titcomb

I remember sitting in a room with the then CEO of  of the Pension Regulator, Lesley Titcomb. Also in the room were Angie Brooks and Sue Flood who talked of the day’s proceedings in the High Court where a very male judiciary had crushed the appeal of the Ark Pension victims against the persecution of the HMRC for tax penalties following “unauthorized” payments of their pensions.

Lesley cried.

There was more value in those tears than in a thousand pages of legal argument. Those tears were drawn from compassion for people who to use Sue’s phrase “would have got more support if their handbag had been stolen”.

We do not value compassion much, it is not a very fashionable word. But it is what boils Jo’s blood and what drives Margaret Snowden. It is a very female quality which is absent in much of the argument of us men. We should listen and understand , for it is hard for us to understand this depth of feeling or the good it brings


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 Compassion for the pension liberated

  1. Brian G says:

    It is a pity that HMRC fail to see themselves as the true enabler of many of the “successful” early “pension liberations”, due to their own abject failure to do their job as gatekeepers when authorising the setting up of limited companies as part of the process of establishing a SSAS. HMRC should hang their heads in shame rather than pursue the victims of these scams. If the various employees of HMRC had done their jobs properly, many of the schemes used as the means of delivering unauthorised payments would never have existed. Well done to Jo and Margaret for tirelessly campaigning. It is ironic that in pursuing these innocent victims HMRC is adopting the approach that the customer is guilty of tax evasion unless they can prove they were scammed.

  2. Thank you for your kind words and support, Henry. Slowly but surely we are turning the tide.

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