DOD’s blog: this week in benefits

Debi O’Donovan’s musings on the key events of 1-7 February 2013

Today I had the privilege of lunching with the highly regarded John Greenwood (editor of Corporate Adviser and regular writer for the likes of The Sunday Telegraph and Money Marketing).

Few journalists are as clued up on pensions as John, so when he has a beef about something it is usually worth listening to.

As we worked our way through some great pub grub at our local watering hole (the Adam & Eve, thank you for asking) he bent my ear about the great auto-enrolment and flat-rate pension scandal that will come into play unless people lobby on behalf of the many unpensioned in this nation.

If you haven’t read his (controversial) column yet, it is worth a read: John Greenwood: Pension reforms will be bad for auto-enrolment

John got plenty of stick about his column at Tuesday night’s Corporate Adviser Awards (a good do, by the way) from those in the pensions industry who will either be benefiting themselves, or who have clients who will benefit.

I support auto-enrolment and the idea of a flat-rate pension, even though I will personally be worse off at retirement than I would have been had we stuck with the current system. However, given this was meant to be at the expense of ensuring lower earners would be better off I can be grown up about it (and believe other higher earners should be too).

But to hear that those who contracted out are the real beneficiaries … well, it leaves me with a less than warm and fuzzy feeling towards, as John puts it, “those who are benefiting from an over-generous approach to solving the contracting-out conundrum at the expense of the great unpensioned”.

Can we let this go unchallenged?

Debi O’Donovan, Editor, Employee Benefits

Twitter: @DebiODonovan