Nico and Darren meet their match in Charlotte Moore.

Nico with cravat and Rupert Bear waist coat

“Multi-award winning journalist” Charlotte Moore turns up to dob Nico in for looking like a prat in a cravat. Anyone who allows themselves to be called “multiple-award winning” gets a rotten tomato from the Plowman. Awards are two a penny, I’ve only been put forward for one award as a journo, I lost, Charlotte won. I’m a zero award winning journalist and proud of it (sort of).

Here she is, on the 30th VFM podcast and here I am reporting on it. Weird.

As for the pod

The cliches flew thick and fast in the early minutes of the pod, with Charlotte dishing out tactical and strategic advice and Nico getting stuck into a discussion on macro-economic trends that left me baffled.

Charlotte was in combative form and Darren took an uppercut to the chin when he suggested that Monzo might be the next Tesco/Google/Amazon to transform British pensions. Cue lots of panic and drinking of Cool-Aid. This entire story is based on a job ad for a single employee to have a look 

Charlotte told to report on journalism as a sector with enough money to keep her in stories for a time to come. I bump into at conferences and we always exchange pleasantries but I’ve never sat down and listened to her views.

Once you’ve got past the naked aggression of the first quarter of an hour, this podcast is an intelligent discussion on how the British pension system is organised. It would be a better one if it included state pensions (which Darren does his best to do). But Charlotte left out state pensions from her self-education which leaves the pod a bit short on balance.

Value for money.

I listened to this podcast, the evening after 3 hours with DWP/TPR and FCA discussing how the VFM Framework could positively impact the retirement income of millions of savers. It was a deeply serious discussion between people involved.

With due respect to this pod, it weighed in as 62 minutes of gossip.

Really important developments in pension, such as CDC, cannot be dismissed with a flounce, as Charlotte dismissed it. Target Dated Funds cannot be dismissed , as Nico dismissed them , as America’s solution to running pensions without computers.

I remain deeply committed to restoring confidence in pensions by improving their value for money. That can of course be achieved in many ways, but we have to work with the tools we have.

The Mansion House reforms are important, they address structural weaknesses in the way we organise pension investment. CDC is important as it addresses the nastiest hardest problem in finance (turning pots to pensions) and of course Sustainability is critical to pensions. It is more than a journalistic side-dish.

If I sound a little disgruntled, it’s because we are now out the other side of the VFM framework consultation and into a period when we want to start applying the framework in our work.

Let’s get back to basics and start discussing how VFM can be practically improved.

Charlotte Moore

The way that Charlotte held this podcast together and ran it was impressive. She is clearly on top of her chosen topics (investment and sustainability) and this is a really funny pod.

I’m glad I listened as it was highly enjoyable and I look forward to sitting down with the great woman when next we meet and setting her right on a few of her prejudices!

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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1 Response to Nico and Darren meet their match in Charlotte Moore.

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