Pensions is the new Rock n Roll

Neil Copeland

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I could have bought a Porsche. Or a Harley. So I think my wife is fairly grateful that my mid-life crisis has so far only extended to me digging out my battered Les Paul copy, pulling on my cowboy boots and making a bit of a racket. Certainly cheaper and possibly less dangerous than the other two options. 

All the way back in February 2012 Sean Browes and I attended Pensions Rocks 2012 at the 100 Club on Oxford Street. It was great night and I broke my cardinal rule, which is: “Don’t make rash statements when you’re drunk”. Admittedly my cardinal rule is more often honoured in the breach than the observance. I don’t know if it was the screaming guitars, the pounding drums or the blazing lights. Probably it was the alcohol, but I had an epiphany that night, a blinding revelation, a truly spiritual experience and I knew what I needed to do. I turned to Sean and I said “Next year, we’re playing!”

 Back in the office I immediately identified a major failing in Spence & Partners recruitment process. At no point was musical ability assessed. Unbelievably I have still not persuaded our HR Manager that this should feature as a core competency in all our role profiles.

A serious point here, if there any trustees out there reading this blog, if your actuary can’t sing, dance or, as an absolute minimum, make convincing guitar like noises to the riff from Smoke on the Water, (Dan Dan Daahh, Dan Dan Da-Daahh) you really should consider whether he or she is the sort of individual you want doing complicated sums for your scheme. I recommend this is an agenda item for your next trustee meeting and if the actuary can’t deliver in one of these three key areas, then give us a call straight away.

So a call went out for volunteers. And then I sent a press gang round – reviving a fine old naval tradition that really should be used more often in the corporate environment.

Our first rehearsal was a bit of a shambles when only me, the singer and the drummer turned up. But hey ho, as the Ramones once said, the next week we had a full turnout and we clicked.

So now it’s the moment of truth. On Tuesday 1 October at the O2 in Islington, Run GMP, for that is our amusing pension themed name, will take the stage with five other bands made up of Pension Industry types who also think they could have been contenders, if they hadn’t had to get a proper job, for the first night of Mallowstreet Rocks 2013. The aim is to raise a lot of money for charity and have a lot of fun and beer doing it. And win, of course.

So I hope that if you read this you might come along this year and support Run GMP and all the other bands playing. But Run GMP the most, obviously.

So get yer ya-ya’s out, get your spandex on, set up the JDs and coke and remember, it’s only rock ‘n” roll, but we like it!


Neil Copeland

Post by Neil Copeland

Director, pensions consultant and adviser to trustees and employers on all aspects of work based pension schemes.