Leading financial strategist Steve Bee is in Wales this week (Nov 23) lifting the lid on the pensions revolution that will have an impact on every single business in the country.
Named in Money Marketing’s list of the most influential names in the UK financial services, the pensions guru will be talking to members of the Cardiff Blues Business Club and the South Wales Chamber of Commerce on the new auto-enrolment legislation due to come into force next year.
Steve, who works with Seer Green – Wales-based leading financial planning specialists and a founder member of the Cardiff Blues Business Club – predicts the next five years will prove to be the most important period the UK pensions system will experience in half-a-century.
The award-winning blogger, speaker and pensions industry expert, who has given pensions evidence to a Commons Select Committee, believes the government’s auto-enrolment policy – in which it will be compulsory for businesses to automatically sign up eligible employees into a workplace pension scheme and pay money in for them – could be derailed by staff, themselves, opting out.
On his first ever speaking engagement in Wales, Steve will be sharing his views at a Cardiff Blues Business Club breakfast and a South Wales Chamber of Commerce lunch in Cardiff and Newport on Wednesday, November 23.
Steve says: “Employees will retain the right to opt out, as long as they do not mind giving up the pension contribution required of the employer. I call this strange state of affairs voluntary compulsion. Employees are about to be compelled to save for a pension – but only if they wish to be.
“Some people feel it is quite likely the millions of young people about to be swept into pension saving will opt out. With money tight and debt levels among the young at such high levels, it is easy to argue that saving for the distant future is unlikely to be top of most young people’s priorities.
“If millions of young people do end up opting out, the spread of pension saving envisaged by our legislators, even if it is not seen by them as a complete failure, will stall at least.
“It might not be helpful to see such mass action as a verdict on the reforms to get people saving for the long term, but rather a judgement by the young on the structure of the pension products we have these days.
“Young people understand the economic realities of ageing in these uncertain times well enough, but do not see much attraction in the idea of tying up a big proportion of their income and being denied access to it for many decades to come.
“A mass boycott of these reforms could be a rejection of our one-size-fits-all, take-it-or-leave-it, 20th century approach to pensions.”
Both events are hosted by Seer Green – the Cardiff Blues Business Club event takes place on Wednesday, November 23 (8am) at the Cardiff City Stadium. For a place ring Cardiff 029 2064 3789. The South Wales Chamber of Commerce event will be at the Newport Dragons Stadium on the same day (12 noon). Contact 01633 242827.