Budgie’s back , thank God for that!

Nico was in France, Darren was in charge and Paul “Budgie” Budgen was back from a year’s bird in Ridley Hall – studying theology. We didn’t quite get to the bottom of why Paul has abandoned his new vocation and returned to pensions but he’s welcome back, now as a pentech entrepreneur.

This podcast can be listened to here.

This podcast works for Paul’s repartee and his capacity to give it with both barrels when he’s cornered by Darren and Nico.

Paul is undoubtedly the best salesperson auto-enrolment has ever had. His straight talking, his integrity, his energy and above all his capacity to listen to what people attests to that.

His role as a “pastoral archdeacon” in the Church of England sounds like that of a sales manager. He had 30 odd pastoral officers , walking with their congregations and Paul’s leading from the front, visiting prisons , convincing inmates of the errors of their ways and generally selling Christian good news to the mass market. The man’s an evangelist for good pensions and Christianity. He keeps his sense of humor throughout his work and throughout this podcast.

I’ve no doubt that Budgie has done a great deal to improve the future lives of millions of Nest and Smart savers by getting their employers to save for a good workplace pension. But as he admits on the podcast, while the workplace saving bit’s going well enough, the “pension” bit – isn’t!

There’s plenty of talk in the podcast about something called “four pots” which appears to be Smart’s big idea. Paul seems to be involved in some Fintech enterprise to make choosing one of the pots easier with the help of a bit of AI. A button marked “what should I do now” would be handy – but no-one’s yet come up with an answer that suits regulators, trustees and most importantly – the people taking the decision.

When  Pension PlayPen ran its “choose a pension” service for auto-enrolment – we used to have a metric for “at retirement options”, employers typically reduced its weighting to about 1% of the decision and sadly , it’s stayed that way. So long as employers determine what’s value for money and choose for their staff, at retirement “choice architecture” is going to play  a small part in the FM decision

Which brings us on to the main thrust of the podcast. Paul has been away a year and now he’s back and wearing a cuckoo outfit.  He does a passable imitation of a fintech entrepreneur but he also tells us he’s into CDC (which as a collective solution makes his “four pot machine” redundant). So sooner or later that cuckoo outfit’s going to fall off and we’ll be back to the Budgie of old, hustling for better deals with his old spars at Nest and Smart.

And Paul is surprised that having been away a year, nothing has changed. He shouldn’t be. Things change because of salespeople like him and if they bugger off to Ridley Hall – what do you expect!

Is football the new ESG?

A large part of this pod is taken up talking about football , which the lads can do – because it’s worman’s football and they can engage in a protracted bout of virtue signalling which is fatuous and tedious. Still it saves us from more homilies on ESG.

Next week we are to get Chris Parrott, who is apparently a Tottenham Hotspur fan which will allow the boys to put on their Gooner’s scarves and wave their rattles.

Pension’s Reverend Black Grape

Fortunately- I am now reasonably adept at the fast forward slider on this pod. I am not so good at turning off Budgie when he turns into Pension’s Reverend Black Grape and preaches the gospel of AE 2017 (save harder – longer) or second coming of the Pension Commission (at which point we will be wafted up to pension heaven).

This podcast needs a big of nudging, it’s way too long , but only a second longer than last week’s Charlotte Moore spat

Budgie is back – thank God for that.


About henry tapper

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