Pension Lawyers Association Conference Day 2: Where challenge meets opportunity
11 Apr, 2024

Nathalie Burrows, Editor EBnet

 

 

Despite a late night gala dinner – well late for some of us of a certain unmentionable age – attendance seemed to grow by Day 2 of the PLA conference. Perhaps delegates were enticed by the possibility of “free legal advice” jokingly mentioned by one of the presenters.

 

And once again, the organising committee and their well chosen speakers delivered interesting content, in the most engaging ways.

 

My personal key takeaway from the second day was the practical challenges the retirement industry faces in implementing the two-pot system. Let’s get the most important point out of the way. The lawyers agree: two-pot will not be delayed further and will go ahead on 1 September 2024.

 

Reflecting on the evolution of retirement funds over the last three decades, two-pot is as significant a change as the conversion from defined benefit to defined contribution funds.

 

Two-pot impacts every stakeholder involved in retirement funds, not only the fund’s officers and members. From the four key compass points of the administrator, the advisor, the actuary and the investment manager, to all the degrees in between: call centres, receptionists, benefit counsellors, non-member spouses, to mention a few. It’s difficult to think of a person involved in our industry who will escape its impact.

 

And the industry has a brief 4 and a half months to implement a number of complicated changes. Whilst I will not even try to pretend to be a legal expert, day 2 of the conference dug deep into some of the more nuanced implications of two-pot, specifically:

 

  • A legal analysis of two-pot on spouses, and does your marital regime weigh in here?
  • The amendments to the various pieces of law and bills needed to actually bring the pots into effect.
  • The awareness, communication and education needed for fund members to understand key messages like how much money they are able to withdraw and the process they should follow.
  • Will two-pot result in increases in fraud and, if yes, how do funds mitigate this risk?

 

What really resonated with me was one presenter’s comment that two-pot finally brings about the very real prospect of overcoming member apathy. Up to now, typically members only think about their retirement fund when they leave employment. From September onwards, once every year members will be able to interact with their retirement fund in a way that is meaningful to them. This presents an enormous opportunity for engagement and education.

 

But I digress.

 

The conference also delivered feedback from the offices of the Pension Funds Adjudicator, the Information Regulator and the Financial Sector Conduct Authority, and invited delegates to ask their questions. I’ll share more on these sessions in the coming days.

 

Like the gala dinner, the 2024 PLA conference provided delegates with a delicious assortment of learning and networking opportunities. Well done to the PLA and the organising committee.

 

 

ENDS

 

 

 

 

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@Nathalie Burrows
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