PTL Blog

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

FCA Asset management market study: an ice bath rather than a cold shower

Posted by Richard Butcher on Nov 21, 2016 3:18:59 PM

Late last year the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) launched a consultation on the operation of the investment management industry (I wrote three blogs on it starting here They have now published their interim report (apparently it is still summer!) and it could be a game changer for the investment industry. A great big game changer.


Firstly the basics. This is an interim report (all 206 pages plus nine annexes of it) and, in effect, acts as a consultation. It flags some more work they plan to do, identifies some problems they don’t like and proposes a first set of solutions. The consultation closes in February and a final report will be published next year.


On the assumption that the final report sticks with the solutions included in the interim report (and perhaps adds to them) the full report will need changes in the FCA Code of Business Sourcebook (the “COBS”) and potentially also the law. In other words, no changes are likely to be mandated for at least a year although we’ll all have a clear feel for the direction of travel well before then.


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Topics: Pensions

Fiduciary management is ONE solution, not THE solution

Posted by Richard Butcher on Jul 11, 2016 9:54:23 AM

First published in Actuarial Post on 7 July 2016

Pitmans Trustees (PTL), the leading independent trustee and governance services provider, today urged schemes to proceed with caution when considering a fiduciary management solution.

 Richard Butcher; MD of PTL, commented; ‘We are keen advocates of timely and prompt investment decision making and execution. In this context we think that Fiduciary Management can be a good solution, however, we also think it presents some risks. Firstly, the term ‘fiduciary management’ is not consistently used. The solutions being offered, under this term, by different providers can be very, very different and what’s included in one ‘package’ may well not be in another.

To read the blog in full CLICK HERE


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Topics: Pensions

The Wolf of Threadneedle Street

Posted by Colin Musgreaves on Jul 4, 2016 9:49:43 AM

First published in Pension Funds Online  on 30 June 2016.

Colin Musgreaves tackles the issues of transparency within the investment industry.

I was recently recommended to watch the Wolf of Wall Street by a partner in a major city law firm, who assured me I would enjoy it.

He was right, what a fantastic film. When it was over, in a moment of reflection, it made me think about the parallels with our industry, and, if it was based on a true story, how things are so very different for retail and institutional investors in the UK.

To read the blog in full CLICK HERE

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Topics: Pensions

The loneliness of the long distance saver

Posted by Richard Butcher on May 9, 2016 3:25:26 PM

First published in Engaged Investor Online on 9 May 2016

The pensions industry could learn a lot from marathons, finds Richard Butcher, managing director of PTL

It was, in case you didn’t notice, the London Marathon the other Sunday. I’ve never done it myself but I have run other marathons and endurance events. I know what it feels like.

At the start you are uncertain, a little nervous, the butterflies flit around your gut “why am I doing this”. The tension mounts as you approach that first formal step and then, almost unnoticed, you are across the start line and the tension goes. You are there. It is real. You feel it, smell it, are living it - and it’s not as bad as you thought it might be.

To read the blog in full CLICK HERE

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Topics: Pensions

The increased focus on master trusts

Posted by Matt Pridding on May 6, 2016 10:31:20 AM

First published in Pension Funds Online on 6 May 2016

Last month The Pensions Regulator (TPR) announced that looking at the quality and sustainability of master trusts was one of the top priorities in its corporate plan.

It also stated that 55% of members are in the four largest master trusts and that there are also 69 other smaller master trusts.

TPR is concerned that these smaller master trusts may have poorer governance and member communications than the larger master trusts, and may not benefit from economies of scale.

To read the blog in full CLICK HERE


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Topics: Pensions

MASTER TRUSTS Survival of the fittest

Posted by Richard Butcher on May 3, 2016 11:28:25 AM

First published in Pensions World on 25 April 2016

Once upon a time, not that long ago, there was a faraway place where 45,000 small defined contribution (DC) schemes wandered the prairies of the pension world, wild and untamed. They were little beasts, stunted and slow, but in their plodding way they did what they needed to do. Then – and nobody is quite sure why – there was a giant extinction. In place of the small DC schemes there emerged new beasts of the pension world, great beasts: the master trusts. They were big (some huge), they were efficient and they were slick.

Hmmm. Well, almost.

To read the blog in full CLICK HERE

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Topics: Pensions

Are mastertrusts financially stable?

Posted by Richard Butcher on Apr 28, 2016 1:26:20 PM

First published in Pensions Expert on 27 April 2016

A couple of years ago Andrew Warwick-Thompson, executive director of defined contribution and public service pension schemes at the Pensions Regulator, was quoted as saying: “There are 70 mastertrusts and that’s 60 too many”. 

Mastertrusts exist because of the need to deliver economies of scale to members – they will deliver those economies because of their scale. In other words, they need to be big to succeed from the members’ perspective.

It was, I suspect, partly this issue that sat behind Warwick-Thompson’s words, although he may also have been hinting at a slightly darker, more worrying issue: can 150 mastertrusts be financially stable? 

To read the blog in full CLICK HERE


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Topics: Pensions

What do Austin Powers and Defined Benefit Pension Schemes have in common?

Posted by Candace Benger on Apr 14, 2016 10:34:44 AM

Austin Powers.  A funny albeit slightly ridiculous tale of a super spy who has been unfrozen in order to save the world from his also unfrozen arch enemy Dr Evil. 

They both, however, encounter acclimatisation issues when they realise that it's no longer the 1960s; a world of free love and rock and roll, £I million dollars is a mere drop in the ocean to hard core criminals and defined benefit pension schemes are like gold dust. 

The world they knew had gone and it was time to change and adapt to the new one they found themselves in...

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Topics: Defined Contribution, Pensions, Defined Benefit, independent trustee uk

Do sweat the small stuff

Posted by Paul Ratcliffe on Mar 29, 2016 12:50:51 PM

“Nothing moves quickly in pensions.” That’s a quote I used to hear a lot during the time I have been working in the industry, and I used to believe it.

These days however, it seems that things have been moving very fast indeed. Whether it’s the new flexibilities, the end of contracting out, or changes to the annual allowance, to name but a few, it seems there’s always something that needs doing urgently and always a deadline looming.

With all that going on, it’s understandable that the day to day can sometimes get overlooked. It’s very tempting to find comfort in the assumption that what’s been going on for years is ok, but is it?

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Topics: Pensions, Defined Benefit

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