21 Jun 2018 2 min read

What do Love Island and DB pensions have in common?

By Mark Johnson

Defined benefit schemes and ITV2’s Love Island may be more similar than you think. But are the DWP’s consolidation plans a match made in heaven?


At a Pensions and Lifetime Saving Association (PLSA) event in London this week, attendees were asked whether the consolidation plans outlined in the Department of Work and Pensions’ (DWP) recent white paper were a good thing or not.

The vast majority felt it was too early to tell, despite an endorsement from the panel which included Hymans Robertson and Hogan Lovells. To be fair, the panel offered a qualified yes, suggesting that much work needs to be done to ensure a robust framework around accreditation and monitoring.

To viewers of ITV2’s Love Island the idea of consolidation is not new. Contestants are invited to ‘couple’ with each other and engage in a series of tasks lest they be voted off by viewers. The secret of the show’s success is that new contestants are added each week, leaving existing couples to wonder if they’ve made the right choice or coupled too early. 

In the rush for consolidation, both Love Island contestants and pension schemes may have their heads turned

To advocates of pension consolidation, much is being made of the introduction of a chairman’s statement that will shed light on how the scheme has considered the issue. It has always been vital that trustees consider the full range of options available to them, and none more so than when it comes to consolidation.

From investment platforms and DB master trusts to fiduciary management, risk transfer (pension buy-out) and newly emerging financial vehicles, there are a range of solutions for trustees to consider, each offering some combination of lower costs, enhanced governance or walk-away certainty. But whatever the criteria, there should only be one winner: members whose benefits are made more secure.  

Contestants on Love Island are judged on what many might deem to be fairly superficial characteristics. In the rush for consolidation, pension schemes and their sponsors may also have their heads turned.

Let’s hope what they choose is true marriage material.

Mark Johnson

Head of Institutional Client Management

Mark is responsible for LGIM’s institutional client teams. Mark joined LGIM in 2017 from BlackRock where he was a managing director with responsibility for the closed end fund and charities business. Prior to that he was responsible for iShares UK sales having previously been head of UK Strategic pension clients. Mark graduated from the University of East Anglia with an LLB (Hons) degree in Law.

Mark Johnson