Most respondents in this week's Pensions Buzz say it's time to get on board with the lifetime ISA to get the best outcomes for members.
The industry should get on board with the lifetime ISA (LISA) to the best outcome for members according to a majority (62%).
Some thought employers and providers need to be pragmatic while others argued the industry should be proactive rather than reactive. One said the industry has to recognise reality and "not stick our heads in the sand".
One commentator said: "The industry should engage with it because a) a lot of non-members might well prefer it and b) that's the way the wind is blowing."
Members need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of the options available to choose the best mix for their personal circumstances, another added.
One respondent asked: "Why would a less than best possible outcome be acceptable as an aim?"
Conversely 30% were against the industry engaging with the LISA. "The industry has got to look after its own structure. The LISA is not a pension so should not affect pension provision."
One in twelve sat on the fence.
President Donald Trump was seen as the biggest geopolitical risk to markets this year by most respondents.
Of the four risk options they could select, 41% chose Trump, 21% picked Brexit, 13% thought China, 13% selected the European elections and 12% named a different risk.
One commentator worried about Trump's recent comments about sorting out North Korea. "If Trump nukes North Korea, none of our investments will be worth anything."
Another added: "Trump is unpredictable and speaks without thinking through the consequences."
Among those who selected Brexit, there were worries about how the negotiations might turn out. "We might get lucky with Brexit, we might not. It remains a gamble, and so by its very nature it is a big risk for everybody, including for those outside the UK," said one.
However, a few thought China's economy is an underrated risk. "The Chinese are trying to keep a lot of plates spinning, economically. The danger of a crash has to be seen as very real, at this point."
The decline of mortality improvements over the past few years is not just a blip anymore according to almost half of respondents (47%).
The deterioration is best explained by a combination of factors such as people's unhealthy lifestyles and cuts to NHS spending.
A pundit said: "Look at the general public. Most are unfit, overeat and have a poor attitude to stress and good lifestyle. Mortality will be on a downward projection, especially when governments have to reduce NHS overspends."
Others questioned the accuracy of actuarial assumptions. "Actuaries should have far less confidence about mortality assumptions and should make it clear to their clients that it is just a guess."
Yet, 14% disagreed and argued mortality improvements would continue to get better over time. "With continuing improvements in medicine and more awareness of health /wellbeing the prospect of improved longevity for certain sectors of the population is there," said one.
A sizeable portion of almost 40% said replied they did not know. "Ask me in ten years' time!" said one.
Another added: "Only time will tell. Maybe we should just accept there will be ups and downs rather than thinking in terms of 'blips'."
Independent governance committees (IGCs) were rated average at delivering value for money during the last two years by 64% of respondents.
Meanwhile, 15% said they have been successful, 3% very successful, 13% said unsuccessful, 5% very unsuccessful.
One respondent who thought their success was only average argued it is too early to tell how successful IGCs have been and that they need more time to develop.
Another said: "IGCs have been overseeing changes which regulators were requiring anyway. IGCs may have slightly speeded up pace of change with marginal improvements beyond where the providers wanted to go."
Among those who believed they have been successful, one remarked. "They've made a good start, but there is still a long way to go. Value for money will ultimately be judged by members."
The industry is seeing slow movement towards greater clarity and lower legacy charges, another added.
The pundits that picked ‘very unsuccessful' denounced IGCs as "a bad idea executed badly" and "completely irrelevant".
Seven out of ten believed there should be a required to give trustees the scheme's ‘best estimate' funding position to when carrying out an actuarial valuation.
"Actuaries should be put on the spot to employ some professional judgement rather than just relying on established methodologies which may no longer be appropriate," said a respondent.
A different one asked: "Without information how can any of us make informed decisions in our lives?"
It would not hurt to provide a valuation result on a basis which is less pessimistic than the prudent basis, another observed.
Nonetheless, 15% disagreed as some thought it would only cause confusion. "This sounds tempting but would only result in yet another figure being produced," said one.
Another said: "‘Best estimate is an ill-defined term. One person's ‘best estimate' might be judged reckless by another person and overly cautious by a third person."
One in seven was undecided.
PMI president Lesley Alexander and the institute's immediate past-president Lesley Carline talk about the challenges of Covid-19 and the opportunities and challenges the industry faces in the future.
The Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA) has announced global consultant Deloitte as its expert knowledge provider for data.
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XPS Pensions posted a 9% increase in revenues during the six months to 30 September – a rise driven by a number of large client wins.
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