You wait years for good pension communications and then…..

LV passport

All the best documents can be digested at a glance- think P60 ( or P45 if you’re more used to them)! Simple lay-out , necessary information, few words, maximum impact as it’s all there on one sheet. You wait years for one of these to come along and then two come along in one week.


LV have just published a one page wake-up pack which they claim has boosted the numbers enquiring of Pension Wise – ten times. The less is more story appears in the FT.

As you can see from this imperfect scan, there aren’t many words, the numbers are to the fore and it’s all on one sheet of paper.



While LV has been trialling its one-pager, Quiet room have been getting consensus for the regular pension statement (the one you chuck in the bin once a year without opening).

I bumped into Quiet room’s Mark and Rhys before the launch of this little beauty at PLSA 17 (I was holding an impromptu clinic outside the Exhibition).PLSA meet

Ruston Smith of Tesco got momentum into the project, introducing Quiet room to Eversheds Sutherland and acting as majordomo. Ruston seems to do a lot of this kind of thing.

I asked Mark Scantlebury what he was playing at, and with the precision and concision of a communications whizz, he explained.

What Quiet room wanted to achieve with the Retirement Account Statement

  1. Make it work within the existing legislation – the project encouraged him to think about what would work best for members, even if this meant challenging legislation. In view of there being no opportunities to change legislation , they thought better of challenging it.
  2. Work for the lowest-tech company – there are lots of moves afoot to produce videos, digital statements etc. but some schemes would struggle to afford them. Quietroom wanted to produce something every scheme could us. And the paper format would make it easy for people with rights from lots of schemes to compare the statements easily,
  3. Get it down to one piece of paper;- members complain about the pages and pages of material they get in their statements, that’s why they throw them away unread or even unopened.
  4. Use a transparent structure – people need to know where they are now, where they are going and how to change the destination (nice)! Quiet room supported this by using a three-step structure and colour coding. This allows providers and sponsors to adapt the coding for their branding.
  5. Show people what they could do next – data without direction isn’t helpful. Quiet room wanted people to use the information to change their behaviour.
  6. Remove references to a ‘pension’ – Mark wanted to talk instead about having a pot of money to use any way members wanted. He also stripped out word like “benefits” which are left-over from DB schemes.
  7. Help people see what they’re getting – rather than just focus on how figures have changed over the year, Mark wanted to help members see how much they have in their pot and how little income they’ve had to give up to get there. That way they get an idea of what great value they’ve been getting, even in years when investments have performed badly.
  8. Make all the messages clear and positive – as well as stripping out jargon, Quiet room shortened sentences , put in verbs and used lots of “you” and “yours”.
  9. Give clear directions – rather than trying to pack everything into the statement, Quiet room will direct people to places where they can find out more and take action. Rather than vague signposts, these are specific references to individual sections, even pages.
  10. Produce something that can adapt – Sponsors and providers will want to add material around the statement. Keeping it down to two sides and using a simple distinctive design, will help people find these pages within a longer document. They can then compare them with other documents from other schemes.

I must say, I was surprised that Mark could articulate so well from such a short conversation!

The really good bit is that Quietroom have now published the prototype of this document on its website – which I can now signpost down to the page! Follow this link.

Don’t content ourselves with just these  photos – please comment on the digital statements on the Quiet room site!


What happens next?

What happens next is that you go to Quiet room’s website and you voice your opinion on this little baby. Blaspheme if you like, don’t hold back – if you think it’s shit say it’s shit.

But the idea is to give these to the DWP as part of their BAU and to adopt this style of talking to people throughout the occupational DC world. The people I’ve spoken to at the master trusts are loving it already.

If we can get lots of people supporting this approach, then maybe we can do for occupational pensions, what LV are doing in the contract-based space.DWPstatement-850x534

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
This entry was posted in advice gap, annuity, later life, pensions and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to You wait years for good pension communications and then…..

  1. Simon Grover says:

    *blush* (We worked on the LV document too!)

  2. henry tapper says:

    Good for you! When I confronted Scantlebury with the remarkable similarity – he went a little quiet! Do you consider the LV wake-up pack a prototype or a sister document?

  3. Bob Compton says:

    Quiet Room have done a great job!

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