Often retirement policies in a country are a result of a patchwork of initiatives over time. Wouldn’t it be nice if a country could take more of a blank slate approach?
In this episode, Josh Cohen interviews Helen Dean, CEO of the National Employees Savings Trust, or NEST, which is the largest pension scheme in the United Kingdom based on the number of members. Helen has played a central role over the last two decades in government, and now at NEST, developing and implementing a new retirement approach for the UK. Learn how they borrowed a lot of great ideas from other countries, including the US, to craft a system that may just be a model for other countries in the future.
[:15] Josh Cohen, your host, introduces today’s topic: The evolution of the UK’s retirement system or what Helen Dean likes to call “The biggest social experiment ever”.
[3:18] Helen shares her professional journey which started with her getting a degree in psychology and social policy, and involved working for the DWP
[6:39] The UK did something unique: They created a pension committee with three individuals: a business leader, a trade union leader, and a leading academic.
[8:51] How do you get individuals to save more? Education and advice didn’t get people to save more.
[11:31] Helen shares what her team and she proposed (which was very different from what they saw in the US model), they wanted to require automatic enrolment for all workers.
[19:00] Helen shares how the employer community got on board with NEST, after seeing the benefits for the UK and for their own businesses.
[22:28] Helen shares how they turned again to the US to adopt their ideas for emergency savings.
[23:56] Helen talks about how NEST manages investments for controlling risks and optimizing returns.
[25:18] NEST started to invest in liquid and private assets, high-quality sustainable businesses that assure a good return over the long term.
[28:43] Helen openly shares her thoughts and feelings about her past two decades dedicated to building NEST from scratch, seeing it grow, and witnessing the amazing impact it has had so far.
[31:29] Stay tuned for the next episode where Josh will take the audience to Singapore.
Thank you for tuning in. If you liked what you heard, please subscribe and leave us a review wherever you listen to your podcasts.
The Accidental Plan Sponsor
Listen to Season 1 Episode 5: How Target Date Funds and Behavioral Economics Shaped Retirement Plans
Mentioned in this episode:
More about Helen Dean