Aegon: Stuck in a time warp – time to level up retirement disclosures for members of trust based schemes

by | Jul 25, 2022

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In its response to the DWP’s consultation ‘Helping savers understand their pension choices’ Aegon calls for:

  • Consistent pre-retirement communications support for members of contract and trust-based schemes, building on FCA’s lead
  • Further consideration of a digital-first approach – greener and more engaging
  • More tailored communications and more personalised guidance

Kate Smith, Head of Pensions at Aegon, comments: “It’s of little interest to individuals whether they are saving in a contract-based group personal pension, a trust-based master trust or a single employer scheme. In an auto-enrolment world with millions saving ‘by default’, it makes no sense to have different regulatory requirements around communications, including in the run-up to retirement.

“Many employees will spend time contributing to both Group Personal Pensions and master trusts, so different timing and content of communications can only add to member confusion, creating a barrier to engagement. Now’s the time for full consistency in regulatory member communications and for greater use of innovative digital approaches to really engage savers.

“The FCA has led the way in helping savers understand their pension freedom choices; wake-up packs are issued every 5 years from age 50 and newly introduced investment pathways will hopefully help non-advised drawdown customers with investment choices. Trust-based regulations have been stuck in a time warp, with wake-up packs required only a matter of months before savers’ retirement date, far too late to aid engagement and planning.  

“It’s time to level up retirement communication so that all pension savers get clear, consistent communications, starting early, to help them with their pre-retirement decision-making. We’re calling for DWP to take a lead from the FCA, rather than reinventing the wheel. Members of trust-based schemes need better timed and simpler wake-up packs, coupled with earlier nudges.

“But there’s potential for further improvements across the whole pensions world, using digital communications with improved personalisation rather than piles of unread paper. We hope Treasury and FCA will in future allow regulated firms to offer more personalised guidance, tailored to the individual.

“Together, and alongside pension dashboards, these could create a step change in pensions engagement and improved decision making, fit for the 21st Century. Now is the time to grasp the nettle.”

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