Getting Smarter about how we retire

It’s important to get innovation into the workplace pensions we rely on. Smart has now got around half a million of us saving into its pension scheme and you can read more at http://www.smart.co/innovation .

Of course innovation for innovation’s sake is just smartypants showing-off . But where providers are looking to make it easier for take tough choices like what to do with our money when we retire, there’s a lot a firm like Smart can do.

AgeWage has been working with Smart on how Smart’s savers can understand their investments and get smart with how they manage their later life finances.


Levelling up

New firms like Pension Bee and Smart, can help more established firms like State Street and Legal and General – which own stakes in them. These partnerships are obvious.

Not so obvious is the capacity of these newcomers to show the wider market the art of the possible. I was very disappointed to see last week, the FCA accepting it isn’t currently possible to tell people how much they are paying for their pension management. I had a couple of providers phoning me up telling me I was wrong and the FCA was right.

But I notice that not all providers felt they couldn’t comply and Pension Bee said they could have told their policyholders the cost of all their funds. We shouldn’t let “can’t” dictate to “can”. This goes for the pension dashboard too.

It’s not just the new kids – ask Phoenix!

Phoenix who own Standard Life and a host of legacy pension books are (with the assimilation of ReAssure) holding more of our pension pots than any other life company in the UK.

Last autumn I spoke with their customer services Director , David Woolletts about Phoenix’s plans to improve things for savers. These include trying to find all policyholder’s emails and migrating old books of business from companies like Abbey Life onto new platforms managed by Diligentia (the Tata owned NEST record keeper).

This is how we migrate to a position where we can all see our data on request in real time and make decisions on how we manage our later life finances with the help of the devices we do everything else with.


Getting Smarter

We need to work with and get behind the kind of initiatives advertised here by Smart and promoted by Phoenix and many others. I have had similar conversations with Jackie Lieper at Scottish Widows and Peter Jackson at L&G. Aviva has its digital garage and I have meetings planned with Aegon. Many of the smaller master trusts like Salvus and Bluesky have been hugely supportive of AgeWage’s drive to understand the nation’s savings pots.

We are getting smarter and we will get to a point where real time information , passing through APIs will become the new normal.  I have written recently that I hope to see a race to the top on this kind of connectivity and I see plenty of evidence that pension providers are getting there.

Of course there will be those who lag and I worry particularly about the consultancies who do not have the resource or the incentive to operate open pensions as third party administrators.

We are getting smarter – but sometimes  too slowly!

 

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen, Director of First Actuarial, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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