Pension schemes urged to use investment disclosures as an engagement tool

Pension schemes should look to use the upcoming investment disclosure requirements as an opportunity to engage members and help them better understand their pension, Sackers has said.

Sackers senior associate, Sarah Henderson, urged pension schemes to use technology effectively to enhance member engagement, highlighting the new requirements as an opportunity to use detailed and complex information “for good”.

Henderson highlighted a number of channels that are already being utilised to deliver accessible messaging to members such as email notifications, e-newsletters, social media posts, and partnering with employers’ flex platforms and financial wellbeing initiatives.

The new requirements will see trustees produce an implementation statement, reporting on how well the scheme has followed the policies outlined in its Statement of Investment Principles (SIP).

This requirement will apply to any scheme’s first annual report finalised after 30 September 2020, with the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association recently publishing guidance to support trustees navigating this.

Henderson noted that whilst the “central policy intention” behind the initiative is to improve member outcomes through increased transparency, the primary impact so far has been an added compliance burden for schemes.

Looking to previous changes to DC chair's statements, Henderson noted that The Pensions Regulator's (TPR's) hand had been "tied by legislation", arguing that a strict approach to compliance review can result in schemes focusing overly on compliance and not on member engagement as intended.

She clarified, however, that there is “some really good information” included within the disclosures nonetheless, urging trustees to be creative and use technology to better engage members with this information.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) also published figures today (7 August) revealing that the number of adults using the internet daily or almost every day has risen to record levels, with 89 per cent of adults using the internet daily or almost every day.

Furthermore, over the past three months, 76 per cent of adults had used the internet for banking, whilst 81 per cent had used the internet to look for information on services and goods.

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