Guest comment: The importance of communication

The Pensions Regulator (TPR), Pensions Administration Standards Association (Pasa) and the Pensions Management Institute (PMI) have all produced guidance for schemes during lockdown, services to members have continued to be delivered, and providers have weathered the storm remarkably well.

But household budgets have been squeezed by reduced salaries plus a fear of job losses, meaning pension contributions have become somewhat a luxury item.

This is further exacerbated by the fear of the security of pension schemes if an employer is looking fragile.

Many members still do not appreciate the separation of pension scheme assets and the company.

Those in defined contribution arrangements may have been receiving their annual benefit statements or going online and seeing their pension fund values drop with the recent market turmoil.

The basics of communication are under control, members’ benefits are being collected, pensions and death benefits are being paid, but the engagement piece is more important now than ever.

Trustees should go back to basics and not assume that members know things because they have been told them before.

Developing holistic engagement programmes will help get them through the tough times whilst not losing sight of their future.

Schemes will also need to communicate to those members who lose jobs that as deferred members their benefits are safe.

Schemes will also need to ensure they engage properly with members on being able to detect scammers and to avoid transferring out when it may not be in their best interests.

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