Vince Franklin – pension’s unlikely hero

I had thought that the 28 episodes of the VFM podcast had finished with last week’s rather lacklustre affair but I was wrong and a new episode, weighing in at over 68 minutes has arrived.

It features Vincent Franklin, a man too witty for pensions, who has graced out TV , typically as the hapless victim  of tragic- comic dramas such as the Thick of It, Midsomer Murders , Cucumber and the Office. Vincent seems to think he plays obnoxious characters, but he evinces sympathy in our household for his capacity to play lack of self awareness (a very hard thing to do).;

It is particularly hard to do , when your job is to be self-aware, especially of the language that you use.

Vincent’s interest in pensions is not just in words, he was a prime-mover behind the launch of Make my Money Matter , which allows the pod to kick into a discussion on the political interference going on in investment in the UK and US.

The discussion on technology disappears down a rabbit hole of conspiracy. We are on the eve of destruction here , the suppression of free speech, culture wars and the nature of truth are all given an airing – chuck in Brexit, the closure of libraries, funding of the NHS and we have the omnishambles of conspiracy and we haven’t even got to minute 20.

The liberal paternalism of this podcast blames social media and in particular tic-toc for most of these evils.

Good economic sense from Franklin

For those that think that Franklin is no more than pension’s Yorick, his comments on the current economic spending, especially on the state pension , are just good Yorkshire common sense.

The Pod goes on with a lot of talk of “ballooning” , including a discussion on longevity pooling prompted by the Pension Trust’s tentative overtures towards CDC. This gets amplification from Vincent who calls for better “defaults” (a word that Quietroom has tried in the past to ban).  Auto-enrollability needs rollability so that people roll into a wage for life pension which is economically sustainable.

I’ve done a number of presentations with Vincent on this subject but have not heard him speaking with quite such vehemence on the need to have “done for us” options at retirement that obviate the need for decision making.

How did you get into Pensions Vincent?

Here is Vincent Franklin’s Wiki entry for “career”

Franklin has had roles in many TV series including Five DaysDoc MartinBeing HumanGrandma’s HouseHappy Valley as DSI Andy Shepherd, as Rowan the trainer in The Office, Nick Jowett in Twenty Twelve,[7] PR guru Stewart Pearson in The Thick Of It, Henry Best in Cucumber and Banana as well as Prendergast in the BBC 2017 adaptation of the Evelyn Waugh novel Decline and Fall.[8] He portrayed Christopher Drawlight in the 2015 BBC production of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.[9]

He is also a founder of the communications consultancy, Quietroom.

Vincent is only in pensions peripherally- at least as far as the public are concerned. We have him as part of our pensions infrastructure by chance and I have always found him more interesting about his grand-dad’s allotment’s allotment than about GDP reconciliation. He is a part of pensions out of serendipity, don’t knock serendipity!

As regards Value for Money, Vincent’s view is that you expect what you pay for, which is a proper pension. Surprisingly , he doesn’t claim that “good comms” adds much to value but that bad comms can detract – like a signpost pointing in the wrong direction.

With most commercial pension schemes bundling “comms” into their propositions, the opportunities for Quietroom continue to be to challenge poor practice, right wrongful statements, simplify what people see to focus on what really matters and to make sure that people can see what they are buying.

His Yorkshire bluntness is much needed as we move towards implementing the VFM Code.

Though it is overlong, it’s worth continuing to the end of the podcast for why “Mark Scantlebury has no soul”. It is extremely hard to dig any dirt on Quietroom’s co-founder and Vincent’s anecdote is all the better for the obvious bemusement of “Scants” in the face of evidence of his heinous crime.

A good podcast, next week the boys go again with Charlotte Moore, revitalised by Vincent’s energy, perception and wit.



About henry tapper

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