The PLSA conference is a bell-weather of pension opinion.
In October 2022, delegates found themselves in the eye of the LDI debacle with hedges being saved or lost , hour by hour.
2023 was less fraught, most DB schemes are theoretically comfortably in surplus and while the average DC saver lost 1op in every pound in 2022, nobody seemed particularly fussed.
This coffee morning will be asking the questions the PLSA didn’t ask
- At £95k a stand and £6k per delegate – is the conference offering commercial sponsors value for money?
- Was the agenda a proper debate on the state of pensions in the UK today?
- Why don’t politicians turn up to the PLSA events anymore?
- How much does the PLSA influence legislation and regulation?
Obviously the PLSA would take the positives our of the event, it was packed , the stands were lavish, the exhibition hall full.
But if it is the showcase for the pensions industry, what do those who don’t attend the conference think? Let’s hope that members of the PLSA who went, who didn’t and non-members of the PLSA all make it to the coffee morning.
For me – the key takeaways of my three day stay were
- Government policy is right in principle but can it be put into practice
- Can the fiduciary principle assume short-term casualties for long term good
- Is ESG a strategy or the guiding principle of how pension money is managed?
- Is the DB funding code needed any more?
- Do we need CDC schemes or just better ways to turn pots to pensions?
- Do we need to get AE contributions up to 12% (are there other ways to do it)
- Are insurers safe enough to buy-out all our pensions?
- What is happening to superfunds?
I was a guest of the PLSA and am very grateful for their hospitality. But I am conscious I was in a bubble.
Join us on Tuesday for a proper post-mortem on a stimulating Conference.