UK - Scheme managers are tackling common problems by swapping ideas through a web-based forum which bars consultants and fund managers and has rejected any government input.
The free website – www.pensionwebcommunity.com – was set up by Anthony Hodges Consulting and currently has more than 200 scheme manager members.
Consultants and fund managers are not given access.
EMAP group benefits manager Ralph Turner said: “You can go in anonymously, or as yourself, and ask anything of anybody.
“And you get honest replies from other pension managers facing exactly the same problems – without a consultant in sight.”
The department for work and pensions expressed interest in gaining access to the site.
But it was turned down after users voiced fears that government access might force members into self-censorship.
AHC director Anthony Hodges explained: “We don’t want anything to happen that would mean members would become more inhibited about what they say.”
Hodges also rejected a suggestion that the name of the company where users work should be added next to comments.
He said this had been resisted because “if you do that, it becomes the company’s comment rather than the individual”.
NAPF chairman and Rexam group pensions and benefits manager Terry Faulkner is a regular visitor to the website, logging on several times a week.
He said: “The information I get from the site is exceptionally useful because it comes from practitioners that have the same issues, and have either solved the issues or are just coming across them.”
The NAPF plans to set up a discussion facility on its website in the next six months. But Faulkner insisted it would not compete with the AHC site.
“We are looking for ways to communicate with each other and for the NAFP to get better and quicker responses from its members on policy issues. This has been discussed for quite some time.”
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