Pensions has always been a tricky business. But perhaps never more so than in 2013. The regulation changes of the early 2000’s rewrote the rulebook for those running pension funds, and a survey of the key challenges of that time would have produced, it seems logical to assume, a set of concerns about changing regulations, accounting issues that accompany them, and governance. Today, the landscape has changed. Pension funds, on the whole, got to grips with those systemic changes in pension infrastructure only to be faced, in 2008 onwards, with the greatest seismic economic shift of our lifetimes. It wasn’t just that markets plummeted and equities didn’t turn out to be the knight in shining armour pension funds had hoped and planned they would be; it was that the very foundations of modern economic markets changed. Everything we thought we knew about risk, return and the relationship between the two, was called into question. Now, in 2013, we are all still acclimatising to our new normal.
As Charles Darwin famously noted,
“it’s not been the strongest of the species to survive, but the most adaptive to change”.
For those managing pension funds and guarding the well-being of their members’ retirement pots, the last five years have been no easy ride. The actions they have taken and will continue to take will determine the well-being of our ageing population, and the challenges they perceive as the greatest ones will shape those actions. This report collates the answers to a survey that asks the pensions industry – those actively running pension funds as well as those advising and providing services to them – what they consider the greatest challenges they face today, in the medium and longer terms, in the categories of Strategic challenges, Financial and Economic challenges, Political and Regulatory challenges and Operational ones.
Each respondent listed the top three challenges in each of these categories as they saw it, and thereby provided a rare and candid insight into those items that occupy the tops of their agendas.
This report provides a glimpse into the minds of those influential people in the UK who hold the well-being of the retiring population in their hands. I hope you find it interesting and informative, and that, if you are so inclined, you will use the contact details at the back of this report to reach out to us and continue the conversation. Above all, we hope this report acts as a conversation-starter within pensions, and that you, the reader, will use it to engage with others in the industry to question, analyse and discuss the challenges reported herein.
Click here to read the full report – Mountains of the Mind – Pension Funds’ Greatest Challenges in 2013.