Richard Butcher explains why the Cost Transparency Initiative is important, but could be lost in translation without a comparative.
Topics: cost transparency
First published in Pension Funds Online, 29 March 2018
He takes on a dozen, keen, unnaturally good looking, usually young and ambitious individuals, he sets them challenges and he watches them perform. Then, one by one, he fires them. The last one standing becomes his apprentice. It’s a simple, low cost, low risk process.
First published in Professional Pensions, 14 February 2018
Any day now, although perhaps I should say any season, the DWP’s white paper will emerge, covering a raft of pension policies. This was originally conceived to put forward solutions and law changes to ease the defined benefit funding “crisis”. Its mission now seems to have morphed somewhat into something more minty than white.
The collapse of Carillion and the emerging back story led Theresa May to propose new powers for the Regulator: perhaps to veto dividend payments, or impose punitive fines or bonus clawbacks on wayward directors.
First Published in Pension Funds Online, 28 September 2017
In my latest guest blog for Pension Funds Online, I talk about the importance of the new GDPR regulations but also of my fear of getting it wrong.
I seem to remember that one of Steven King's early films was about a chap driving across America in the dead of night when, for whatever reason, a truck starts harassing him. Presumably it starts at a low level before stepping up to intimidation and then, finally, arriving at terror – it being a Steven King film, after all. Can anyone remember what that was called?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.