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Investing for the Future

Held in the Banking Hall – a lovely old venue in the City of London – Charles Stanley’s Fiduciary Team hosted our first conference for our defined benefit pension scheme clients and their advisers.

Bob Campion

in Fiduciary news


The afternoon featured a keynote presentation from Lord Blunkett (former Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions), as well a panel of independent pensions experts and our own investment team.

The panel – Roger Mattingly of Ross Trustees, Hugh Nolan of Spence & Partners and Nigel Jones from Broadstone, moderated by Pensions Expert editor Angus Peters – debated the Pensions Regulator’s requirement for a long-term funding target and the chances for consolidation of pension schemes in the future. The “two Jo(h)ns” – Charles Stanley’s chief investment officer Jon Cunliffe and chief global strategist John Redwood – explored two recent drivers of global markets: the trade war between US president Donald Trump and Chinese premier Xi Jinping, and interest rate policy in the US. Lord Blunkett closed the conference by expressing his concern for the lack of political direction in the UK – and his hopes for a more collaborative future.

As compère for the afternoon, it was great to see so many clients and contacts of the Fiduciary Service meeting our team, each other and sharing ideas. I had two main takeaways:

1)      For many delegates it was the first time they had ever been to a pensions conference. For those of us who have been in the industry more years than we care to remember it’s easy to forget that for the vast majority of trustees, pensions is very far from their day job. As Broadstone’s Nigel Jones pointed out in our expert panel debate, the vast majority of defined benefit pension schemes are small. For all the discussion about consolidation, the likely outcome for the majority of these smaller scheme is that they will keep running until they can afford to buy out. We must all work harder to communicate better and clearer. And the needs of smaller schemes should be top of the agenda – not an afterthought.

2)      Our keynote David Blunkett believed that trust in politicians was at an all time low – and that the country has to unite if it is going to prosper in the years to come. That resonates in the pensions industry. The recent Competition and Markets Authority review has created a much stronger oversight framework – and we all have an opportunity now to reinvigorate an environment of trust between pension schemes and investment service providers. But we must be straight forward. It’s not about investment consultant vs fiduciary manager. It’s not one size fits all and there’s plenty of room for honest competition and a wide range of services.

A big thank you to everyone who attended and spoke at Investing for the Future – and to Charles Stanley’s excellent events team for all their hard work.

Look out for invitations to our next event – coming soon!

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