Breakfast with the Future Influencers

Rachel Graham

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Having heard quite a lot of positive feedback regarding the Future Influencer events from my colleagues, Spence’s recent event on Thursday 21 May was my opportunity to finally find out what all of the fuss was about! One of Waterloo’s Alice in Wonderland inspired rooms was the venue for the event. From the giant Alice figurine which greeted us at the entrance to the miniature elevator in the corridor; this venue has to be seen to be believed.

Following some delicious sausage and bacon breakfast rolls (I bypassed the healthier option of yoghurt and granola), Spence’s Christopher Shortt kicked off the event presenting on The Power of Automation. Christopher’s detail on the process of automation and issues faced in the short and long term prompted his question to the audience of what the biggest factor scheme’s considering automation have to consider? Of course, it is the cost involved, and Christopher highlighted how the benefit from automation in the long term should certainly outweigh the short term cost involved. Spence’s in-house administration and actuarial automated system, Mantle was then the topic of conversation as the Future Influencers were keen to find out how user friendly the system was to the layman and also how the system could possibly deal with uncertainties such as discretionary pension increases. Click here to view Chris’s presentation.

Lindsay Watkins of Pinsent Masons was up next and discussed The Pension Ombudsman’s determinations in relation to pension liberation transfer cases. Lindsay educated us of some recent liberation transfer cases and of how the Ombudsman’s ruling is extremely case specific. Lindsay explained how the burden of providing transfers lies with the provider and their key difficulty is determining whether or not a receiving scheme is involved in liberation activity. This prompted some discussion among the Future Influencers regarding our own experience and the steps that have been taken to establish possible liberation schemes. Download Lindsay’s slides here.

Spence’s Lauren Jones finished up with a presentation titled ‘Marketing…Should you care?. Lauren highlighted the range of different marketing channels and provided us with some eye opening statistics including the fact that 42% of blogs and articles are used for decision making. Who would have thought a simple blog or article could have such a big impact? Lauren encouraged us all to share our thoughts and be genuine whether it is via Facebook, Twitter or Linked In. We were encouraged to ‘share the love’ and not to just be another ‘one trick pony’ when writing articles or blogs… I feel another blog coming on in the near future!

There was a mix of old and new faces at last week’s event (mine being one of the new ones). It was a great opportunity for me to network, exchange business cards and meet people from a variety of backgrounds including; actuarial, legal, trustee and pensions journalism. I look forward to attending many more successful events in the future.