Recently attended an excellent pension conference hosted by Baker Tilly in the wonderfully opulent surroundings of the Banqueting House in Whitehall Place. A high tech voting system, video screens and a procession of the great and the good (or just those who could attend) helped the attendees focus their minds on the major pension issues with which we’re faced.
The highlights of the day for me were a humorous exchange between Robin Ellison and Peter Haskins over whose fault the pensions crisis was (a slight points victory to Robin on that one) and Robin having to admit that he hadn’t managed to get approval for the new 4th force in politics, the U Party , in time for the general election – but at least it’ll be ready for the next one in 6 months time!!
There was some consensus on the need for future change focussed on:-
• Reform of the state pension with the removal of the means test
• A better balance of provision between public and private sector
• Scrap NEST – Steve Mingle’s presentation was excellent
• Consider increasing state pension retirement age and linking it to mortality
Other areas considered included the move to a single regulator with a greater focus on policing abuse and less on producing regulation, a focus on scheme data quality, a minimum standard of regulation for professional trustees, the use of liability management exercises by employers and a need for much higher quality communication material.
There was even some agreement that perhaps contract based solutions were not a panacea for DC pensions but that trust based solutions may be making a comeback.
All lead me to the conclusion – pensions are dead, long live pensions!!