I have been involved with the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) for many years and have appreciated the opportunity to work with like-minded individuals who also wanted to bring about change in our industry and to improve the pensions system for all types of pension schemes and their members.
This aim has not left me. I continue to hold to this, and this is why I was very proud to be appointed chair of the policy board earlier this year. The creation of the policy board was as a result of feedback from a recent consultation, which the PLSA led to ensure that it was a true reflection of the pension industry.
Since last Autumn, the policy board has overseen, shaped and managed the agenda for all aspects of retirement income across the PLSA’s policy work – underpinning what we view as one of our strongest aspects of the PLSA’s work on behalf of its members. I worked closely with Richard Butcher, chair of the PLSA board, to ensure that our policy board consists of experts each of whom believes in the need to own the conversation around pensions and wider savings policy within Whitehall and Westminster.
The make-up of this group has been carefully thought through to ensure that we represent the breadth and diversity of the PLSA’s members.
Our final policy board not only reflects the breadth of the PLSA’s constituency but also has a range of ages and backgrounds represented. Over 50% are women, which is important to me as unfortunately, strong female representation at senior levels can still be rare within our industry.
The PLSA has signed up to the Women in Finance Charter and made a commitment to gender balance in pensions. I am very much looking forward to working with this group to shape the pensions and savings landscape for the benefit of schemes and savers.
Another key part of the policy board is flexibility. Our diverse membership means we can tackle any policy issue that comes up in the short term and build a coherent and achievable vision for the longer term.
We will be working on the big issues facing the industry now like the implementation of the pensions dashboard and the defined benefit white paper. We’ll also continue to make the case for the policy suggestions outlined in the Hitting the Target report – such as the introduction of retirement income targets and increasing contributions to 12%.
We recognise there are big issues to tackle as we look to build out our agenda and focus on our vision for pensions. We have already given some thought to the key priorities for the next three years and we are excited to meet formally for the first time later this month. This is a brilliant opportunity not only to set the policy agenda and generate workable policy solutions on behalf of the PLSA membership, but also to support the PLSA executive in presenting them to the government and regulators as advocates and ambassadors on behalf of the industry.
Finally, our overriding aim will be to make sure our policy work supports the PLSA’s overall mission, helping everyone to achieve a better income in retirement, however they are saving for it.
Emma Douglas, is chair of the PLSA policy board and head of DC at Legal & General Investment Management