Leaders at the 2015 Annual Payroll and Pensions Conference warn industry of lack of pension experts and public understanding

13 October 2015

Over 350 leading pension and payroll professionals gathered this week at the stunning Celtic Manor Resort, which hosted the 2010 Ryder Cup, in Wales for the CIPPs Annual Payroll and Pensions Conference and Exhibition and awards. The two-day event was packed with workshops and talks from leading industry voices on the most talked about issues which lead to some heated debates on the future of payroll and pensions.

Henry Tapper, director of first actuarial, gave a keynote speech warning delegates of the very real danger of a pensions catastrophe - highlighting the lack of pension’s experts within organisations and the reliance on payroll staff to pick up the slack.

Henry said: “Payroll staff are the unsung heroes of the pensions industry and are doing their best to fill in a skills gap, but the lack of pension’s expert’s means mistakes will be made and employees may be given the wrong advice. It's a disaster waiting to happen and it's just a matter of time.”

Henry went on to advice attendees on the need for better co-operation between pensions and payroll experts to help assure employees are not left in the dark.

Lindsay Melvin, CEO of the CIPP, added: “To bring together the leading voices in the industry for two days and hear them share their views on our ever changing environment was an incredible feat. However, we have lots to think about and take home with us. The warnings and advice given are very real and hopefully the industry will rise to the challenge."

In addition, attendees also had a chance to listen to Steve Nichols, head of strategy and development at Anthony Hodges Consulting, who imparted his knowledge on engaging with disenfranchised retirement savers. The well-attended session shone a light on the importance of a modern communications strategy with the next generation of savers when helping them realise the importance of planning for the future.

Steve added: "The public feels bemused by pensions and a great deal of the time it’s because of the way the facts are communicated. The days of simply sending letters in the post and hoping employees will read them are over. The industry must learn to move forward with the times and embrace social media as a leading tool in helping the public gain a better understanding of their financial future."

Delegates also had the chance to listen to a number of experts which included:

  • Debbie Jackson, from BIS, who hosted a roundtable for delegates trying to overcome problems with shared parental leave – offering solutions from a government perspective.
  • Alison Ward, consultant, lead a session on planning global payroll and how to tackle the complexities of multi-cultural awareness.
  • Ian Hodson, reward manager at University of Lincoln, spoke in detail with delegates about the changing working environment for payroll professionals who may consider adding payroll rewards to their skills set.

The conference also included the 12th Annual Payroll & Pensions Excellence Awards Ceremony. The glitzy black tie event, famous for shining a spotlight on organisations and individuals who have achieved notable goals, gave a chance for all those involved to raise a toast to all the winners and everyone’s hard work over the past year.