In 2015, I expect to hear a new word entering our pension lexicon – “fulfilment”.
It’s an odd word, I prefer it’s more general sense that conveys “delivery on a promise” but in the narrower context of “order fulfilment”. it’s the last leg in the supply chain, the delivery of the purchase.
This is all sorry music for those of us awaiting the fulfilment of parcels due to be delivered by Citylink, currently languishing in warehouses around the country.
I hope Citylink’s demise is not an omen for 2015, especially when I think of the employers staging auto-enrolment and employees wishing to exercise their pension freedoms.
The internet has heightened our expectations for impeccable fulfilment. We expect an end to end process where at worst we will be required to squiggle a signature onto a liquid display.
In Amazon we trust and if Amazon delivered pensions, I suspect we’d be a lot more confident.
But there’s the rub! A pension is for life and not just for Christmas. What makes sense in December 2014 may need to make as much sense in 2054 .
Some commentators are arguing that the ease of access offered by “AE in a Box” type services and “pension bank accounts” are a little too slick. After all, wasn’t it the easy transition from pot to pension that led to the success of in-house annuities?
The trick is to get sufficient friction into the decision making process -at the point when engagement is needed and ensure.
At this point it is really important that we act responsibly. Whether you are coming at this as a regulator, a provider , an adviser or a purchaser, it is critically important that decisions taken are taken with engagement with proper information and empowerment through keen education.
I reckon that technology has a great role to play both in fulfilment and in decision making. I don’t think you can discount manual intervention just yet but we have to strive towards a point where our customers can sense that should they want to transact straight through- they can.