Now the year is over, night is drawing nigh,
yet more consultations, drift across the sky!
One of the brightest thing to happen in a dark year, has been the development of outstanding pension journalism within the FT. I don’t just mean Jo Cumbo, I mean the team at Pensions Expert put together by Maria Espidanha and comprising Alex Janiaud and Ben Mercer. They have been supported by a number of journalists from FT Adviser.
Since the FT moved back to Bracken House and integrated the various pension teams, it has become more authoritative and – as can be shown by Alex’s splendid 2022 write up , quite challenging.
Sadly, both Alex and Ben will be moving on next year – good luck boys!
Enough puffing – what about the huffing!
Government huffing in 2022 has indeed been extensive, with consultations left right and centre. The consultations of the DWP and HMT have led to consultations from FCA and TPR and these have fed down into consultations from PDP and MaPS with the various trade bodies consulting their members to the point where yet more consultations drift across me like dreams. There are six responses I could make over the Christmas period and that’s in readiness for the heavyweight consultations from DWP on Retirement Income and VFM due in early January.
Huffing and puffing is getting us somewhere. We will get a dashboard, we have got CDC 1.0 and we have a Pension Regulator with new powers (though not yet the funding regulations to use them on). We haven’t got further with extending auto-enrolment to the self-employed, the young or in extending definitions of pensionable pay. We are not much further down the road of pension consolidation than we were at the start of this Government, we have no schemes in pension superfunds and no Pension Superfund, only Clara – which is an ante-room to buy-out.
The consolidation of DC schemes is happening because consultants and master trusts are getting their acts together , not because of the DWP consolidation regulations. TCFD is coming in, but we have a long way to go before we know whether our money really matters. The Government’s aim to increase the penetration of private markets into DC defaults has stalled as has use of the LTAF. There are more precious things for DC schemes to think about right now, like how to improve member outcomes and in particular what to do with pot proliferation and the lack of a default decumulation option to replace the annuity.
So plenty of huffing, puffing but not much regulation or regulatory guidance getting done.
And plenty to enjoy as Alex romps through the firing, the blocking, the incompetence and the broken Government that culminated in the famous Growth Plan
Broken is my word of the year as we leave it. 2022 was broken by a breakdown in standards in public life but it was not broken by the reporting of what has happened.
I am pleased to say, that as I pick my way through the shards of the year, I have the light of the FT to guide me!
— Henry Tapper (@henryhtapper) December 21, 2022
I have particularly enjoyed Ben Mercer’s weekly roundups and occasional podcasts. Sadly, I gather he has left to pursue other interests.