Rarely a week goes by without journeys hitting the headlines. It’s either the journeys being made that are the problem, or the journeys not being made that are causing the consternation. Sometimes, it’s the not knowing whether journeys can be made or not, where they can be made to, whether the desired destination will allow the journey, or what will happen between planning the journey and actually embarking on it! It’s enough to make you stay at home. Again!
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has joined the fun with its own announcements on journey planning for consumers. Together with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) it launched a new call for input, asking the pensions industry how consumers make decisions about their pension at key points throughout their working lives. The call for input relates to work being done by TPR and FCA to explore the factors affecting how consumers save for their retirement and to find ways to improve the journey from joining the workforce to retirement.
TPR also published its three-year Corporate Plan, which sets out how it will deliver against the priorities published in its Corporate Strategy on the future of pension regulation – the Pension Schemes Act, combatting scams, and a framework for measuring value for money being three core priorities.
One of its key pillars is the increased focus on administration and technology in the pension industry, which will be driven by the development of pensions dashboards and change the way savers engage with their pensions. This is, of course, against the backdrop of the changing pension landscape brought about by automatic enrolment, the pension freedoms and the shift away from defined benefit towards defined contribution.
The desire to change how savers engage with their pensions is very welcome. Anyone who reads my blogs will know by now that fuelled by litres and litres of strong coffee, I can, and will, never tire of telling anyone who will listen, and those who won’t, that technology is the way forward for engaging pension savers. Why wouldn’t it be when it’s working everywhere else?
To understand the future of the consumer journey for pensions savers, just look at smartphone ownership - 95% in the age 45-65 age group. This is the medium people use increasingly to engage with banking, news, holidays, social media etc. The pensions industry needs to supply easy-to-use and understand phone apps for savers to access securely using fingerprint or facial recognition.
The panacea for years and years of lack of engagement is not just ‘technology’ – websites are so 1970s – it’s the ‘right technology’! Just now, that's the smartphone app. If you build it, they will come …