I’ve had one of those good weeks where months of trying seems to culminate in things happening, a bit like “tipping point” when the coins cascade down the layers and you feel like you’re getting the pay-off you deserve (it’s amazing how addictive watching tipping point is).
There are lots of good things I can’t talk about (I find myself signing more NDAs than I publish blogs) but one thing I can talk about is a long conversation I had with the Pensions Minister where I felt we were finally on the same page about how we could simplify the way we explained pension savings, we had what Laurie Edmans calls a “light-bulb moment”.
Laurie’s light bulb moment
Laurie Edmans (CBE) is one of those old blokes who seems to get younger every time you meet him, Mark Thompson is another. Both don’t need to be knocking around worrying about pensions, Laurie in particular has got grapes to tread (as can be seen from the photo above). Mark , Laurie and a Claire McCormick have been bashing about ideas about value and money in DC pensions for the last few weeks and every time we get a little off the point Laurie comes up with his “light bulb moment”.
The light bulb moment’s what happened to Saul when he got blinded on the road to Damascus and ended up becoming Paul and an apostle , rather than the apostate formerly known as Saul. “Blinded by the light”, Laurie imagines savers getting pensions to the point where they become a part of their financial future rather than something that is done to them every time they get paid.
Laurie always prefaces anything he says about me with “Henry and I don’t agree about much but…” and then goes off about how we both agree on that kind of light bulb moment -we do.
But back to my conversation with the Pensions Minister. It is hard to see a light bulb coming on when you’re on Teams (DWP don’t do Zoom) but the light bulb moment appears to have happened when Guy Opperman worked out that an internal rate of return measure what people actually get from their pension (rather than what fund and platform managers agree with trustees.
I look forward to some interesting conversations in months to come leading up to the publication to the Occupational Pension Schemes (Administration, Investment, Charges and Governance) (Amendment) Regulations 2021. Let’s hope that those who draft the statutory guidance have a light bulb moment too!
My light bulb moment
For me, as perhaps for the Minister, my moment was when I found out how my pension saving had done. I’m a competitive type and I wanted to know whether my pots had done better or worse than I could have expected.
Guy Opperman’s light bulb moment
For the Minister it seems to have been seeing things from a trustee’s point of view.
Even if not all schemes with less than £100m in them, prove the theory that big is best!