Supermario Pensions – Welcoming you to a Pension Wind-up

David Davison

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At this time of year it can be difficult to think of the ideal gift for the pensions professional in your life. Here at Spence & Partners we’ve developed a computer game (with the occasional manual work around) specially aimed at the lucrative and exciting Christmas pensions market. Welcome to Supermario Pensions, a game that any trustee, actuary or pensions administrator can play.

You begin in level 1, ‘Dataland,’ a rather grey and confusing place where nothing is quite as it seems. You must navigate through Dataland following clues to locate where your important pension scheme data might be. This is more difficult than you might think as it is guarded by The ‘Administreeters,’ who can often be frustrating and difficult to deal with. They are not permitted to go outside very strict parameters to help you in your quest and will often place obstacles in your way. You must outwit the Administreeters and solve puzzles to collect the ‘Initial Data Set’ before moving on to the next level. Be sure to collect as many ‘Bonus Excuses Tokens’ and ‘Helpful Points’ as you can at this stage as these will buy you time later on.

With your ‘Initial Data Set’ in place you must now collect ‘Gold Money Pieces’ (GMP’s) from the fire breathing ‘Revenue Dragon.’ This requires you to pass through various posts – post 88 & 97 and post ‘A’ day as well as solve the post equalisation puzzle. You will think that you have solved this before but don’t be fooled as the ‘Legal Wizard’ who has helped you on your journey may not have solved this puzzle as well as you initially thought.

Having solved all the tests and puzzles you must now compile the Golden Data Set to allow you to move to the next stage. You must lay out all the information you have gathered in a clear format with no pieces missing to allow you to progress. If this can’t be completed within a set timescale you’ll be forced to return to Level 1.

You now move in to the more colorful ‘Number Dome.’ Here you will present your ‘Golden Data Set’ to the ‘Stu Dents’ however you must take care not to reveal the ‘Golden Data Set’ too early as the ‘Stu Dents’ are not used to being provided with full information too early. If this happens, the ‘Stu Dents’ may fall over, and you will be forced to return to the previous level.

You and the ‘Stu Dents’ will now need to navigate the ‘Maze of Confusion.’ This often takes a very long time however some cheats are available in this level. These include the Back of the Envelope Cheat which allows you to simply guess at the answer you want, the Broad-brush Cheat, which clears a path through the ‘Maze of Confusion’ or the FD Trustee Cheat which allows you to skip all the complicated steps and go straight for the least expensive option (although this may have unwelcome consequences later in the game).

At this stage you need to be aware of the ‘Error Pixie,’ who may jump up at any time and spoil your ‘Golden Data Set,’ sending you down the wrong path without you knowing. You also have an optional ‘Data Evaluation Add on’ in this level which allows you to go through the ‘Maze of Confusion’ one more time without any tangible benefit. However, even if you use the ‘Add on’ function there is no guarantee that you will spot the ‘Error Pixie.’

Once this level is completed you can then move on to one of the most difficult areas of your journey. You must negotiate with the ‘Actuarial Magician’ to get them to agree to use your ‘Golden Data Set’ and produce a set of ‘Magic Numbers.’ The Actuarial Magician can be recognized by their large head, furrowed brow and troubled demeanor. They are often difficult to catch and frequently need to be chained to a wall or chair to get them to sign off the ‘Magic Numbers.’ No two ‘Actuarial Magicians’ will produce the same numbers so there is a time limit on this section after which one ‘Actuarial Magician’ will disappear and be replaced with another one with a completely different approach requiring you to go back to the beginning of the level. You must also avoid picking up too many ‘Actuarial Caveat Tokens’ at this level as this may render your ‘Magic Numbers’ invalid.

Having now got your ‘Golden Data Set’ and ‘Magic Numbers’ you can proceed to the next level, the ‘Forest of Trust Trees.’ Your objective in this level is to take these nervous and distracted little folk from ignorance to enlightenment. In this level you can convert your ‘Excuse Tokens’ in to ‘Nuggets of Wisdom’ to be used with the ‘Trust Trees.’ In this level however the ‘Trust Trees’ will have various powers which may make them impervious to your nuggets. You must also, at all times, guard against the ‘Trust Trees’ picking up the ‘Cloak of confusion’ as this may well send you back several levels.

As you now close in on the final level beware the swoop from the ‘Legal Eagle’ who has the power to return you to the beginning of the game as a result of an unexpected change in financial markets, Regulator involvement or major revision to legislation.

The final level is to reach the golden paradise of ‘Annuity Exchange’ where you can present you Golden Data Set, Magic Numbers, Nuggets of Wisdom and Trust Trees Certificate and exchange it all for the ‘Holy Grail’ which allows you to complete the game.

The game is primarily played on computer with multi-player option available over the internet although some sections in the ‘Administreeter’ level may need to be completed using paper and pencil. It is available through a number of outlets although its duration may greatly vary so chose wisely. So if you like the thrills and spills of uncertainty, frustration and repetition we believe this could well be the game for you!!

David Davison

Post by David Davison

Specialist consultant on pensions strategy for corporate, public sector and not for profit employers