PTL Blog

Richard Butcher

Richard Butcher joined PTL in 2008, becoming Managing Director in 2010. He has responsibility for a wide and diverse range of clients with a specific focus on governance in both DB and DC pension schemes. Richard is a Fellow of the Pensions Management Institute (PMI) also sitting on the Council. He is Vice Chair of the National Association of Pensions Funds (NAPF) DC Council and sits on the NAPF board. Richard is a sought after speaker on the industry circuit and a regular key contributor to the industry press. He was Highly Commended in the 2010 & 2011 Engaged Investor Independent Trustee of the Year Awards and was also recently named as one of the Top 50 Most Influential People in Pensions 2014 by Pensions Insight. Richard is also a member of The Pensions Regulator DC Practitioner Panel, the Mastertrust Association, the DWP Trustee Panel and co-Founder of The Association of Member Nominated Trustees.
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Recent Posts

Don’t burn out on data, the real mileage is in comparison

Posted by Richard Butcher on Dec 19, 2018 11:44:13 AM

Richard Butcher explains why the Cost Transparency Initiative is important, but could be lost in translation without a comparative.

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Topics: cost transparency

"You're Fired"

Posted by Richard Butcher on Apr 4, 2018 10:35:43 AM

First published in Pension Funds Online, 29 March 2018

Alan Sugar has it easy. 

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.

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Topics: investment management, db funding, asset manager, independent pension trustee

Dodging a Dangerous Dogs Act moment

Posted by Richard Butcher on Feb 28, 2018 12:27:24 PM

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.

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Topics: Defined Benefit, db funding, trusteeship, defined benefit risks, pensionsindustry, independent pension trustee

GDPR Juggernaut

Posted by Richard Butcher on Oct 2, 2017 8:58:51 AM

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?

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Topics: data protection, gdpr, independent pension trustee

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

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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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

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