Law Debenture was delighted to hold its flagship annual Pensions Debate in the heart of Westminster on Monday 15th May. The event, started in 2004, drew more than 300 pensions professionals from across the industry, in person and virtually, to enjoy a thought-provoking debate on the motion: “This House believes that pension scheme surpluses should be returned to sponsoring employers for investment in the real economy.”
Watch the Debate in full below.
Hosted by Trustee Director Daniel Barlow with Managing Director Vicky Paramour acting as Chair the event prompted entertaining interactions in front of an engaged audience on a topic which is the subject of increasing interest within the industry. Janet Brown, Partner at Sackers, and Rash Bhabra, Head of Retirement at WTW, spoke for the motion, highlighting that the £130 billion of surplus assets on company balance sheets in the UK could be better utilised elsewhere such as in DC schemes to help provide pension benefits to more of the UK workforce and address intergenerational unfairness.
Opposing were Tess Page, Partner at Mercer, and Sean Hoyle, Chairman of Wightlink Limited Pension Scheme, who maintained that for genuine investment in the real economy cash in the pockets of members is a more effective approach as there is a greater likelihood that it will be spent in the real economy.
Following the respective speeches, there was a robust and often-humorous exchange of views during the Q&A session, along with other insightful remarks put to the debaters.
While the majority of the audience still supported the motion at the end of the debate, the gap had narrowed from 65% in favour of the motion with 35% against, to 59% in favour compared to 41% against the motion. So, a success all round!
As always we would love to hear your suggestions for next year's Debate topic - do send any ideas to Nicole.Weiner@lawdeb.com