Member Since: 24th Jan 2014
I'm best known for helping small employers and business advisors with their problems with pensions. These are typically over choosing the right pension for auto-enrolment though through my work with First Actuarial, I get involved with big occupational schemes too.
I'm on this site as I see accountants as the missing link between the pensions industry and the business community - especially small businesses.
I've a Cambridge MA and 30 years in finance behind me, but I'm looking forward to the next ten to twenty years (my flexible "corridor to retirement") to help restore people's confidence in pensions.
Director- First Actuarial
Writer- www.HenryTapper.com and many magazines and papers,
Manager; Pension Play Pen linkedin group, Pension Auto-Enrolment Linked In Group
Choices Champion; Friends of Auto-enrolment
Managing Director Pension Playpen
11th Apr 2016
Clarification on "care"
Five examples of where care is needed
1. Where there are low paid employees who may get no Government Inventive by being put into a master trust that uses the net-pay system of tax-relief
2. Where an employer is told NEST is "free" but not told that NEST reserves the right to levy an employer charge
3, Where a master trust is used which subsequently is forced to wind-up without adequate capital to meet the cost of wind-up
4. Where there is fundamental incompatibility between the payroll software and the demands of the pension provider for the transfer of money and data.
5. Where the needs of the workforce cannot be accommodated by a recommended pension, but could be met elsewhere (for whatever reason)
Clearly you cannot meet all of the needs of everyone but there is sufficient difference between providers to mean that employers can get a good fit. Simply not trying to make an informed choice can leave an employer exposed. This is not fanciful, there are many examples of fiduciaries failing in their duty of care and being held to account years later.
Many employers will consider this talk is scaremongering but I have been advising on pensions for over 30 years and have seen the consequences of short-cutting good practice. Invariably poor buying leads to trouble. Whether the trouble comes from the regulator or from commercial litigation is immaterial,.
7th Apr 2016
A non accountant writes
This non accountant says "accountants should give auto-enrolment advice"!
They should be careful about advising about pension investments (and yes this non-accountant would be happy to help when asked!)
5th Apr 2016
Well said that accountant
Of everything I've heard on Mossack Fonseca, this is the best. I hope you don't mind but I've quoted some of it - attributed to the Imprudent Accountant, on my blog this morning - if you would like a tax-paid pint or two, imprudent - I'm easily found.
1st Apr 2016
Impressed he got it royally signed off
The regal seal look particularly authentic, as so often the 1st April date stamp is critical to authenticity.
29th Mar 2016
Need for more transparency
Capital adequacy is a key issue. L&G' CEO Nigel Wilson was quoted last week criticising the over zealous EU solvency II regulations that tie up capital within the insurance sector. His argument - you can have too much of a good thing.
Occupational schemes (of which master trusts are one species) are not subject to Solvency II and have no capital adequacy requirements whatsoever. You can have too little of a good thing
The master trust assurance framework does not address capital adequacy. There are a lot of master trusts who are currently "winging it" and our risk based Pensions Regulator knows it
The most famous Master Trust NEST is currently trading insolvently but is supported by a £400m + loan (max drawdown £600m from the tax-payer. The NAO is looking to shorten the loan payback period and we wait to see how this will be achieved!
15th Feb 2016
Why I've stopped going to pension websites
Although I work for the delightful First Actuarial, I have stopped going to Pension websites - they are so dull. This thread restores my faith in professional services firms.
In defence of Xero, I learned a lot in the very short time I wasn't lost in Battersea children's zoo or dancing at the Xero party.
If pensions had a Xero, and we don't, we'd be the better for it!
You lot don't know how lucky you are to have Xero - Kool aid tee-shirts and all. Without them Sage and others would become the bloated monsters our fund managers and insurers have become.
Be thankful you can talk like you do on this thread and haven't become institutionalised like the pension "industry" !
14th Feb 2016
Past performance isn't a guide to the future!
If we simply react to failure by blocking progress, nothing much would improve. I agree with your assessment of the past 20 years but not with your objection to auto-enrolment.Old Greying Accountant wrote:
“We should be making provisions for ourselves for retirement, but we haven’t been. Auto enrolment is about reversing that… We need to give people a nudge to start saving for their retirement,” he said.
... the government have been taking 20% + of salaries from everyone for years with the promise we would have pensions and healthcare, but it has been squandered - so it is they not us who have not been making provision for our retirement, we thought we had, by naively trusting the government to keep its promise - the government has acted no better than Maxwell for decades!
12th Feb 2016
Francois in person
I went to the Xero Party and had a good boogie. I saw Francois there and I remember shaking his hand. He was not virtual!
My main memory of the conference was spending a lot of time in Battersea Park getting lost. There were a lot of people at the event who seemed very enthusiastic.
i went to a very similar event in Shepton Mallett once, run by Billy Graham
17th Jan 2016
I think any form of non-contributory pension scheme will find itself being penalised,
14th Dec 2015
Meeting with NEST's CEO
Well I was called into the headmistresses' office about this blog and told in no uncertain terms that there are no plans (or mechanisms) to charge employers.
NEST are keen to point out that their's is a self-service proposition so - compared with the more expensive pears (NOW , People's Pension) , you are buying an apple. The true cost of NEST must be reckoned any support charged or not charged by the intermediary to help out the employer (and staff).
Kidding ourselves and our clients that NEST is free for employers that are not self-suffecient is stupid. If I were writing my client agreement, I would be sure to point out that choosing NEST was not a free ride;