A game of two halves

If 2010 seemed hectic just wait for next year

As 2010 draws to a close, it seems fairest to describe it as a game of two halves. A year ago we were facing six months regulatory and political
paralysis as the politicians downed tools to go round the country persuading us they deserved our votes.

But since the Coalition was formed on May 11, the pace of change has been breathtaking. The summer was taken up with quickie reviews of key policy projects. October was a huge month for policy announcements, with a flat-rate pension, annual pension contribution cap, the
Hutton report and the auto-enrolment review.

November has been more about digesting what has come before, and it is becoming increasingly clear that while we are starting to get more clarity on autoenrolment, Nest and platforms, fresh questions arise in the shape of the contract v trust debate, a possible fresh review of indexation, the implementation of consultancy charging and the role of NI in a flat-rate pension.

Since the Coalition was formed on May 11, the pace of change has been breathtaking

And if that was not enough, the economy all benefit spend is predicated on has been having a few wobbles too. As if taking on board the grim reality of the Comprehensive Spending Review wasn’t enough, the fissures opening in the Eurozone have reawakened all those fears of market paralysis that had only just started to go away.

Contrast that to the dull days of the first five months of the year when the economy was regaining strength, the austerity measures were a comfortable distance into the future and the TV news was full of nothing but politicians traipsing around the country and the BP oil spill.

But as we head into the collective national hysteria that we choose to call the festive season, it is worth remembering all this change is good.

Not just in the ’change is good for consultants’ businesses’ way, but in the way that fresh minds are grappling with problems that have been framed in fresh ways by all the intellectual activity that has taken place.

For politicians, regulators and product designers a very busy year is drawing to a close. For those down in the trenches implementing these changes 2011 looks like being even busier.