PTL Blog

Ducks and Dashboards

Posted by Richard Butcher on Sep 21, 2017 11:41:37 AM

First published in Professional Pensions Online, 21 September 2017

The pensions dashboard should not be launched until it has all its ducks in a row, even if that means later than 2019.

Getting your 'ducks in a row' is one of those phrases we all know the meaning of although its origin is obscure. It was not a phrase coined by Shakespeare (always the first place to look when trying to find the origin of a phrase) but seems to have emerged later and probably as a reference to a mother duck and her ducklings. That said, other contenders for its origin include wharf side cargo bins, various sports or the metal weights used by engineers to define a curve. No one seems to know - but we do all agree that to get our ducks in a row is a good thing.

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Topics: pension dashboard, budget, pensionsindustry

A Man Walks into a Bar

Posted by Richard Butcher on Aug 16, 2017 9:15:14 AM

First published in Pensions Insight, 15 August 2017

There is a common language when it comes to beer and bar snacks - we need the same for pensions.

A bizarre and weird thing happened to me the other day. I went to meet with someone I’d never met before, in a pub, not far from home. 

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Topics: Transaction costs, investment management, investment, investment transaction costs

A perfect savings storm for the youngsters

Posted by Richard Butcher on Aug 9, 2017 11:16:48 AM

First published in Pension Funds Online, 04 August 2017

The pensions model needs drastic change to avoid a bleak and expensive future for young savers.

Last week, the International Longevity Centre - UK (ILCUK) published a report concluding that young Britons need to save 18% of their earnings each year if they want an adequate income in retirement. They described this as being a "monumental challenge". Yep – you could say that.

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Topics: Pensions

Brexit Investment Implications for UK Pension Schemes

Posted by Donny Hay on Jul 17, 2017 3:03:48 PM

The results of PTL’s recent Defined Benefit (DB) Risk survey (click here to see the results) showed that Brexit was one of trustees’ top three DB risks. So, one year on, what has happened, what are the risks and how can trustees mitigate them?

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Topics: Defined Benefit, defined benefit risks

Tour de FCA

Posted by Colin Musgreaves on Jul 13, 2017 10:15:00 AM

No doubt the second biggest event of the summer has been the release of the FCA Asset Management Study, albeit that it is a long way behind the start of the Tour De France - but they have something in common.

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Topics: Defined Benefit, DB Risks

Who wants to live forever?

Posted by Eddie Hopkins on Jul 12, 2017 2:17:22 PM

Apart from being a massive hit for Queen, this is a phrase that haunts Defined Benefit (DB) Trustees and Employers at each triennial valuation. Time after time the actuary comes to the table with the news the pension scheme members are expected to live longer, “It’s a Hard Life” for schemes “Under Pressure” of increasing liabilities.

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Topics: Defined Benefit, DB Risks

Investment Transaction Costs: Your duty to ask

Posted by Richard Butcher on Jun 26, 2017 10:11:16 AM

I started my career at a time when the only paper emerging from a computer’s printer had pale green lines across it and perforations down the side, it folded at A3 intervals to form neat orderly piles that would gradually brown as they sat on the edge of your desk.

It’s the mental image of this stuff that comes to mind every time I think about investment transaction costs. Line after line of computer generated data detailing the up to, we think, 46 costs that could be incurred on each and every trade your fund manager makes. Terabytes of data – albeit more probably shared electronically these days. 

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Topics: Transaction costs, cost transparency, value for money, pension charges, investment transaction costs

The new pensions minister - time for another change?

Posted by Richard Butcher on Jun 22, 2017 2:55:14 PM

First published in Professional Pensions, 22 June 2017

The role should be scrapped as pensions are too important to mess with.

So it's official. Richard Harrington was moved off the pensions brief after just 11 months. We then had a void for a week or two before finally, Guy Opperman was named as the new chap - albeit with an apparently extended (diluted?) brief to include financial inclusion. I welcome him and wish him luck. The cynic in me, however, also wonders how long it will be before I welcome and wish luck to his replacement. 

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Transaction cost debate: where to next?

Posted by Donny Hay on Jun 21, 2017 3:39:15 PM

First published in Pension Funds Online, 09 June 2017

The asset management industry is not used to having the spotlight shone on it, however it has come as a result of the debate on costs and charges. Donny Hay looks at the importance of transparency when dealing with costs.

In her January 2017 article titled "Understanding the transaction cost debate" my colleague Alison Bostock asked how DC trustees and Investment Governance Committees (IGCs) can meet their duty to assess whether transaction costs are value for money.

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Topics: sustainability

What is your plan B? The question few scheme managers dare to ask

Posted by Richard Butcher on May 31, 2017 10:48:23 AM

If you want to know if your service provider will be around long enough to service your pension scheme, ask them how they propose to adapt, says Richard Butcher, managing director of PTL.

There are, it is said, only two things in life that are certain: death and taxes. Despite this (and even though we spend a lot of time talking about tax) death is an almost taboo subject for discussion.

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Topics: sustainability