After the long, dark, cold, days of winter lockdown, the warm sunshine at the end of February heralded a more upbeat mood. The launch of my updated website marked a fresh start. The clearer layout makes it easier for people to find my UK Pension Landscape series, which explains how pension policy evolved over recent decades. Over the last week, the UK Pension Challenges series was updated with two articles examining the challenges freedom and choice present to scheme members. This month my sister and I were invited to a Quietroom Wednesday Wisdom session to answer questions about the asset management industry. It was tremendous fun and made me look forward to when we can chat to each other in the same room rather than over a Zoom call! revisited

I feel proud of my upgraded and much improved website. Content has been clearly categorised on the Insights page to make it easier to find the blog posts which interest you. Please check out the UK Pension Landscape series to learn more about the death of the private sector DB and the birth of auto-enrolment. Feel free to drop me a line to suggest which issues I should address in the UK Pension Challenges series. There is a Publications page listing my most recently published articles while the Services page makes it clear how I could help your organisation.

Freedom and choice: five years on

Five years after Chancellor George Osborne dropped the compulsion to use a defined contribution to purchase an annuity this post examines how scheme members are grappling with their new found freedoms. An insightful report by the People’s Pension New choices, Big decisions – 5 years on shines a spotlight on the key issues. Members no longer view their pension pot as a source of income but instead a consumer choice. They are also sleepwalking into retirement − failing to plan in advance or think about what income they require.

A better way forward

This article takes a look at the best way to make it easier for scheme members to navigate the complexities of freedom and choice. It examines the services offered such as the government’s Pension Wise website, pension advice allowance and the PLSA’s publication of guided income scenarios. But behavioural bias will always confound individuals’ ability to plan for the long-term. While ‘guided drawdown’ is one way to provide an income for pensioners, this could be better addressed by allowing master trusts to opt in members to at-retirement solutions.

Wednesday wisdom

My sister, Natasha Moore, and I were invited by Quietroom to answer questions from their crew about the asset management industry. The session was tremendous fun with lots of laughter. We discussed how important it was for asset managers to understand the constraints of different pension schemes and to match their products to their client’s long-term strategic goals. Old chestnuts such as active versus passive investing were once again examined and we agreed on the importance of embedding sound sustainable investment practices into the whole pension portfolio.

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