All of the great and the good congregated at Law Debenture’s debate on Tuesday. Held at the glamorous One Great George Street in Westminster, the motion was “This house believes that the forthcoming Government should continue the pensions policies of its predecessor”.

Redington’s Robert Gardner and Pinsent Mason’s Carolyn Saunders, in opposition, shunned the Oxford tradition, opting to present a fictional, Hunger Games-style alternative reality.

In the year 2115, the Retirement Games are starting. It’s the one time when people living in the DC district are given the opportunity to compete for a sustainable pension every year.

In 2115, people live in three different districts: the DB district, the DC district, and the hybrid district. The Turner Commission is banned reading. Whispers plague the DC district about the missed opportunity the government had in 2015 to get people saving more.

Although they framed it lightly, there was a serious point to Gardner and Saunders’ speech. Auto-enrolment and the new pension freedoms have been piecemeal measures that will ultimately prove ineffective, they argued. Instead, the government needs to be much more radical in the way it empowers people, by helping them understand why it’s important to save. The government also needs to do more to instil confidence in the pensions system.

Whether people need to understand pensions to save into one or whether it’s best for them to know as little as possible in the hope that inertia will prevail is one of the profound questions facing the pensions industry today.

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