Philip Brown by Philip Brown |

Ask most people to write down a list of ‘must dos’ and it’s a fair bet that not very many will mention the need to learn more about their pensions.

We in the industry are under no illusion that in most cases learning more about retirement saving is not a number one priority because, for many retirement seems a long way off and, let’s face it, pensions are complicated and somewhat dull.

That’s why we’re fully supporting the recent announcement from Pensions Minister Guy Opperman that later this year, as we celebrate 10 years of auto-enrolment and the millions of people it has helped save towards their future, the UK will see a new Pensions Engagement Season. The season will see providers from across the industry join forces in a campaign designed to help people find their pensions and discover how much they have saved.

The new initiative puts retirement savers at the heart of government strategy and enable the industry to communicate with 30 million retirement savers in a co-ordinated way.

More must be done to connect with pension scheme members

We know that the average worker leads a very busy life and many are more than likely to put off dealing with things that they don’t easily understand and don’t appear to be urgent. Of course, those of us in the business know that pensions saving is a long-term pursuit that needs thought and planning. But we must get better at landing those core messages with the wider public.

When you consider that many workers move jobs regularly throughout their career, meaning potentially a variety of different pension pots, so anything that wakes people up to what they’ve got and where they can find it is crucial. It will also enable consumers to compare how much they pay in charges for each of their pensions. This level of transparency will help savers make key decisions such as whether they should consolidate their pensions into one pot.

Pension statements key to effective engagement

We have long believed that pension statements should be the focus of any good engagement strategy. Our statements, which will soon adopt the new simplified format, direct members to our online portal. So, it won’t be long before the introduction of the potentially game changing pensions dashboards takes customer engagement to the next level.

At The People’s Pension, we deal with thousands of emails and telephone calls from some of our 5.7 million members every week. While the nature of the queries we receive is wide and varied, it’s not uncommon for people to only have a basic grasp on how much they have saved. Some know very little, not just about what they have but why they have it. This means that the education and awareness that the new season will bring, will be as welcome as it is crucial.

Great customer service is at the heart of what we do, and we are extremely proud of how we engage with our membership. So, this new government initiative will only improve how the pension industry interacts with savers.