Guest comment: Making temporary changes permanent

The world has changed. Will we return to what was ‘normal’ before Covid-19?

I suspect not as many expectations and certainties about our society have been challenged.

Many of us in the pensions industry are in a relatively privileged position of being able to work from home fairly effectively, thanks to embracing modern technology, and thus have been largely shielded by the direct impact of the epidemic.

So, I should state that the following thoughts are trivial compared to the losses suffered by families who have been directly affected.

But we should reflect on what this experience is teaching us about how we work.

Since the start of the epidemic, regulators have announced several changes to their expectations.

Some of these are to protect members during this upheaval and others are to reduce the pressure on trustees, sponsoring employers and administrators.

I suggest that when life returns to ‘normal’ it will be a unique opportunity to examine the pensions regulatory model and consider how it worked with these changes and whether some of them should be made permanent.

Commentators have noted for years the build-up of legislative requirements and complexity can hinder trustees and employers from focusing on effective governance and protecting members. (The DC chair’s statement is my favourite drum to bang about this.)

The world has changed and the pensions industry and legislators should acknowledge and react to this.

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