Blog: The strangest of years

As we approach Christmas and I find myself knee deep in wrapping paper and boxes of chocolates, it seems like an appropriate time for me to reflect in my first 12 months as a pensions journalist.

When I began working at Pensions Age in January I was quite the pensions novice and it was easy to feel overwhelmed by the complexity of some of the issues facing the industry.

Fortunately, this stage quickly passed thanks to the patience of my co-workers and many industry professionals who took the time to explain things to me.

Since then, I have really started to enjoy the job and getting to know people in the industry, with my particular areas of interest thus far being environmental, social and governance issues, pensions dashboards and member engagement.

There have been many personal highlights, but two which spring to mind are learning about the Pensions Dashboards Project from members of the Money and Pensions Service and speaking to representatives from the Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry (ALFI) and the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) about the Pan-European Personal Pension Product.

Of course, fate has dealt us a strange hand this year, leaving us dealing with a pandemic and months on end of staring at the same bits of wall as we cycle through an endless cavalcade of remote meetings and government rule changes. As something of an introvert, and a man who enjoys avoiding sacrificing his time and money to a daily commute, I am usually fairly happy working from home.

However, the circumstances have unfortunately stopped me from getting to know my wonderful colleagues better and I have only been able to attend a couple of industry events in person. It is testament then to the warm nature of the industry that I have always felt comfortable in speaking my mind and asking questions despite the screens which separate us all.

For my next year in the industry, I am looking forward to further developing my knowledge of pensions, as there is always more to learn, and hopefully managing to make some face-to-face contact with more industry figures, assuming that measures will be lifted at some point in 2021.

I think that is a sentiment that we can all echo as we approach the close of what Twitter users everywhere have been keen to brand ‘the worst year ever’.

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