by Patrick Heath-Lay |

It’s no exaggeration to say that these past few months have been tough in every way imaginable for everyone.

A unique set of circumstances has consumed our way of life, prompting us all to quickly adapt to a new normal. Most of the globe’s population has had to make significant changes.

As well as the risk to our health, many people have faced financial uncertainty after the government took the unavoidable step of lockdown, shutting off much of our economy to protect the population from COVID-19. At the same time, the government provided some financial support for businesses in the form of furlough and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Support for auto-enrolment

We’re pleased the government has chosen to support auto-enrolment through the crisis, as it has proved to be a success and has begun to help reshape how the UK retires. Some were concerned that auto-enrolment would be one of the casualties of the crisis, but the government deserves credit for taking the long view and supporting it through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

However, we know that in this difficult time, many of our members are worried about the impact of COVID-19; some will have to make difficult financial decisions, including whether they can continue contributing to a pension, while others will be worried about the impact COVID-19 has had on their pension savings.

Pensions are for the long term

Investment in pensions is best thought about in decades rather than months – something that is backed up by the fact that, despite March’s market turmoil, our members have seen an above inflation increase on their savings over the past 5 years.

We have a 15-year glidepath reducing risk for members as they come towards claiming their money, which has protected their pension savings from the worst of the market falls and should give them comfort that their retirement plans are still secure.

Although coronavirus has meant we had to quickly adapt our ways of working to protect our staff, we’ve always been here for our customers.

Pension scams

Sadly, there’s a real risk that scammers will use COVID-19 as a way of targeting people, particularly those who are older, vulnerable or isolated. We urge people to think twice before making any rash choices when it comes to their pension. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Our website lists the available resources for those seeking more information as well as advice on staying safe from pension scams.

We thank all our customers for their continued support and understanding. Our teams will continue to pull out all the stops to meet the changing nature of the pandemic and ensure we provide the service our customers need.

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You can access further information about what we are doing in relation to coronavirus on our website.