A quick explanation
PADA are the people who are setting up a Government backed pension scheme called Personal Accounts and if you employed and not in a pension then you’ll have to apply not to be in it!
Their pension scheme will cost you, it will be another deduction on your payslip and an unpopular one unless PADA gets it right.
Mind you. you’d have to be pretty set against that kind of saving to opt out of it as you’ll get a healthy dollop of free money from your employer and from the Government – so long as you pay your bit.
You’ll build up savings at a rate of 8% of your earnings (give or take) which will build to a tidy sum over time especially as the Government’s making sure your savings aren’t eroded by high charges or violent hiccups in stock markets.
So what’s this got to do with Facebook or Twitter or whatever?
One of the things that’s amazing about these new media is that they are used by so many people who are not interested in pensions and consequently prime targets for PADA and personal accounts.
A third of young people regularly access Facebook and Twitter via their mobile, a new report has found.
The study, published by mobile research firm CCS Insight, found that access to social networking sites was driving the take-up of mobile internet services.
Now I’m no marketing genius but if I was in charge of PADA’s communication program, I’d want to make sure that I could get an RSS Feed to as many of those Facebook accounts as ever I could and I’d want it to quote each member the value of their account as it built up.
I’d be wanting people on the bus on the way home to be checking their balances, people to moan when their balances fell (and get smug when they rose).
I’d want people to be asking what all this cash will do when they start drawing it, whether it affects their other pensions and all the kinds of questions that “pension experts” argue about.
Unless these Personal Accounts are in people’s faces, they will just become another tax – like national insurance .
But that’s not how it has to be
People may not be able to blow their pension account for many years but seeing a positive balance popping up from time to time on your web page ought to be comforting at least, interesting perhaps , maybe even something that needs managing.
If Facebook was a country it would be the fourth most populated in the world, if it keeps growing like it is now, it will be the defining media for personal communication over the next ten years.
Even in Facebook is overtaken by Twitter or something we haven’t heard of yet, people will continue to expect and get real time information via feeds from electronic hubs like the Personal Accounts database.
It’s not beyond PADA and their administrators to get feeds to Facebook. For that matter, it’s not beyond the people who administer today’s personal pensions- or company pensions.
I don’t want to see Facebook or Twitter become bunged up with stats and looking like the front page of the Financial Times but I think there’s a place for an occasional message – provided the security’s in place and there’s agreement on all sides.
There will have to be a means to advertise the link which will involve some interesting discussion between the UK Government and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook Founder) but where there’s a will…
They should build an iPhone app as well… Follow PADA on your PDA.
Good balanced point of view with only a touch of mania. Not sure I have seen anywhere that PADA will be the default scheme? Can you share a link to this research on Facebook?
Thanks for your comment.
I haven’t seen any research on how people would best like to see account information so I have created a poll at
From the huge sample so far, it would seem about half of the UK would prefer written statements and a half would like to use the phone or social media!
Please extend the scope of the survey by visiting (and get linked in if you like the stuff there.
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Great suggestions, Henry. A Facebook app and an iPhone app would definitely help soften the blow of a drop in net pay once this scheme is introduced and help users become more engaged.
However, on the basis that the Government felt the need to appoint a ‘new media tsar’, I suspect that the public sector still views social media as something ‘new-fangled’ and complex.
In reality, it is an integral part of everyday life for their target audience and an essential ingredient when launching Personal Accounts.
You can dress this up anyway you like, but it is a tax, albeit like VAT one you can avoid with some effort. However, the key issues here are
1) can a government quango grow your money better than a private firm?
2) How many of us will still be left in employment when they suck that much money out of the economy – money that would otherwise have been spent locally, particularly in deprived areas.
Facebook etc. will not change NEST’s fundamental flaws. It’s like a politician wearing jeans – it doesn’t make him trendy, it just damages the jeans brand.
I was working on this 2 years ago as part of a web browser type pension admin system and portal. Also the smart apps for looking at and making changes to pension accounts on the system. It’s based on 10 years of US web bases pensions platform design. It’s quite addictive to be able to see your pension balance move up and down in real time. Rebalance your funds, reallocate, and switch all from your phone. I used to get funny looks when I was showing it to the powers that be in the UK pension world. They thought I was being quite silly. That system has now moved to SIPPS and QROPS in the UK and for 401K in the US.
If you have an admin system and you want a smart app so your administrators and plan holders can make changes directly into the admin platform, then I might do one for free for the first person who wants to find out if it’s worthwhile and not just wishful thinking. I have a demo of such a thing if you want to see it.