Understanding other people’s priorities – Chris Parrott

Chris Parrott


I’t’s Chris Parrott’s turn on Darren and Nico’s podcast. Chris and Darren are best mates and it turns out they are planning a roadtrip in the States to watch NFL . Which might lead you to think that this is a late-summer indulgence you can skip. Well sort of- but there’s some good stuff here, especially when Chris starts talking about his various jobs and what matters within the HR departments of large employers. The employer’s role in getting VFM for staff hasn’t been sufficiently explore, either in this series or in the consultations,

The team had better stay out of the way of irascible academic turned entrepreneur Chris Sier.  It queries  Chris Sier’s research through Clear Glass on manager fees, wondering whether it’s possible for fees paid to vary so much.  “What are investment consultants doing“- asks Nico?   “Investment consultants are supposed to be about ensuring you are getting the best deals“, he continues . Chris is good on the conflicts of challenging your advisory team. This is a very intelligent discussion – I just hope Chris hasn’t tuned in!My experience of working with Chris is that he is absolutely committed to the integrity of the data.

The team then tackle TCFD reporting and conclude that now is the opportunity to pause and  take stock of how much good measures like  MSCI Value at Risk are doing. The podcast came too late to digest  Aaron Punwani’s admirable comments in Proffessional Pensions .

Perhaps we have become more interested in reporting than in managing the risk but Chris Parrott is an optimist

“You’d hope it will sort itself out – and quickly – but how do you make a difference through reporting”

He wants to see more joined up company and trustee reporting and asks if Government is just asking to too much of trustees. “Should Government simply tell us what to do?”

At this point the podcast goes off on one as Chris brings to the table a number of conspiracy theories so bizarre that Darren has to call the pod to order.

So then its on to Chris’ career where he tells us  “he’s tried to’ pick companies where there is something extraordinary going on.  This leads him to take on a range  of pension manager roles culminating with becoming a professional trustee.

Chris is a PMI stalwart , a promoter of  Aimse and if there’s an award , he’s judged it. In short, Chris is part of the pensions furniture.

So what about VFM?

I admit I was losing a bit of interest as I listened to tales about the number of waste paper bins in the Selfridges pension office.

But I was woken up by Chris’s sound views on VFM which are that members need easier, simpler and fewer documents  We’ve lost sight of the plain English guide he tells us.  “Tell me what I’m saving -where it’s going and what I’ll be getting at the end”

Is value for money the right term? Chris says it is – people make value decisions all day. Choosing where to fill up their car , where to shop and what to buy on value/money trade offs. He sees the problem for the saver coming from the competition on their pocket

Chris’ Dad  used to get home from work with only two bills to pay -the TV licence and the rent.  People have limited budgets and need help  “education ”  on how to make right decisions.

All pretty motherhood and apple pie, till you hear these sentiments spoken with the simple , no nonsense style that Chris has. This part of the podcast is a delight

VFM for the sponsor

The best is yet to come as Chris explains how VFM touches big company thinking.  He talks of working alongside the colleagues who depend on you – looking at things from their  perspective and with the fear that if  you don’t do the right things by members – you’ll find your tyres slashed in the car-park (not that Chris’ ever were)

And Chris is really interesting about the future of pension, speaking sensibly on consolidation , DB surpluses and on CDC which he sees as a “consolidator  model we haven’t even thought of yet”.

It’s a wrap

The podcast  does go on a little (71 minutes) and you can tell Darren and Chris don’t want it to stop. For once it is Nico who calls time!

Damian Stancombe next week


Pretty black and white for Chris

About henry tapper

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