Trajectory Trends Breakfast 24.04.14 – Personal Pensions and Choice

3rd Apr, 2014

The Trajectory Trends Breakfast

The Tyranny and Paradoxes of Choice

Consumer decision making in a complex world

Thursday 24th April 2014 – 08.30 – 09.30

Happenstance, 1a Ludgate Hill, London EC4M 7AA

The fourth Trajectory Trends Breakfast of 2014 follows the recent UK budget and picks up on the debate surrounding the potential impact of pension liberalisation. As such the time is right to reflect on the ubiquity of consumer choice and the future of choosing in a complex world.

The subject naturally lends itself to polarised perspectives, with one side seeming to argue that choice is the supreme virtue in our consumer society and the other side lamenting the dangers of enhanced choice (particularly for those with relatively limited access to information (or education)).

At Trajectory we have been discussing an apparent dichotomy between the uncompromising and the compromised UK consumer in 2014 alongside our longer term perspectives on the privatization of risk in the context of the deregulation of life. Our own research shows significant numbers of people perceiving strong time-pressure today together with ever greater complexity – both issues that peak in the pre-retirement period central to planning for the new pension’s paradigm.

Last year we were commissioned by Which? to review the literature around the Future of Choosing, including the role for expert advice, the role of peer networks, the use of automated decision systems and the relative importance of choice in different categories and contexts.

The budget announcement has shone a light on a range of attitudes toward consumer choice with widespread acceptance of the idea that the (nanny) state in the 21st century has no right to impose the existing restrictive framework on the majority of pension recipients – note that the reforms announced have applied to the wealthiest pensioners for some time already.

Conversely, apparently well-meaning commentators are worried that individual consumers will make the wrong decisions and focus on short-term gratification rather than their long term security. Strangely, we have heard less about the danger of relying on the industry to deliver impartial advice.

What we haven’t heard discussed as yet are the mechanics of choice including the optimum number of options, the paradox of more choice leading to less choosing and the danger of decision fatigue

It’s a fascinating subject to explore and we very much hope that you will join us for what is sure to be a stimulating hour of discussion. As ever we don’t claim to have all of the answers, perhaps not even all of the questions but we look forward to sharing our thoughts and joining the debate.

To book your place simply mail Michael Brennan @ michaelb@trajectorypartnership.com