Conference season for pensions

Kevin Burge

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Spence & Partners latest blog for Pension Funds Online –

It appears to me that April kicks off a two to three month conference season for pensions. The great and the good gather at various events to discuss the world of pensions; what had gone well; what the latest ‘fad’ is and what will the future look like.

Now if anyone has ever been involved in organising a conference, or indeed speaking in one, then you will know that a good deal of planning takes place and presentations are normally prepared and well rehearsed.

I have been to four conferences in the past month and have no doubt at all that this would have been the case at all of these. However a fairly large spanner was thrown in the works in March by the Chancellor by his announcements in the Budget. Carefully prepared scripts were ripped up overnight and the chairmen of the various conferences had to think very quickly on how they could change the conference to make sure that the debates were now relevant and took into account the latest, as I described it earlier, ‘fad’.

Without doubt changes were made to scripts; speakers one by one all made the point that their talk to a degree was now “off the cuff” and took into account the latest changes.

By and large in my view the speakers did pretty well and certainly the impression that I got was that the decision made to effectively scrap the need to purchase an annuity was welcomed with open arms. It was also undoubtedly agreed that how the minister managed to keep this secret from the outside world was quite remarkable and to a degree added to the fun of the announcement. One would have liked to be a fly on the wall at the various insurance companies when they heard the news. I suspect a bleeper might have been required to drown out some of the more colourful language.

Apart from debates around this, the vast majority of the remaining time was taken up by auto-enrolment and whether it is a success and without doubt how much more needs to be done in this area, especially regarding how much is being saved as opposed to whether a person is in or not. This debate has a fair bit of mileage in it yet…

Next year’s conference chairmen might well be paying a lot closer attention to the Budget with fingers crossed that their carefully planned out schedule can remain in place… I just wonder what he has planned for us next.


Pension Funds Online

Kevin Burge

Post by Kevin Burge

An experienced pension consultant with specific expertise in Scheme terminations - PPF, FAS transfer and winding up.