Why’s our retirement saving so poorly supported?

This message from L&G is now 16 months old

Logging onto my L&G website, I was told yesterday that the fund valuation service wasn’t working – the glitch has been fixed today but it’s a hit and miss affair. Would I put up with this from First Direct or Lloyds (whose banking facilities I use) – no. Should I put up with sub-standard service and dodgy access to my account value – no?

The L&G’s IGC report speaks of this service in glowing terms

We maintained last year’s score of 5 as we were pleased
with engagement developments over the year, as well as
new initiatives and communications provided to members
to support them with issues arising as a result of the
global pandemic.

COVID-19 impacted everyone in the UK and Legal & General
introduced an online hub and email campaign to provide
important information, reassurance and useful resources to
members at a challenging time.

Legal & General also made improvements to their online
account management service – Manage Your Account –
where members can see their Legal & General pension
information all in one place

Well – what is the benchmark for the IGC? The landing page and front page of the IGC report show a lady in a facemask. No one has yet caught Covid from a computer.

The L&G site claims to be able to show me everything I need to fund my retirement in one place. But this is patently nonsense. It does not show me my state pension, or my Nest pension , it has no idea about my ISAs , my Zurich staff pension and it knows nothing about my monthly expenditure.

This is because pensions, unlike other forms of saving and investment, do not integrate to anything. There are exceptions to that rule (if you bank with Lloyds you can see your Scottish Widows pension on your banking screens) but the exceptions prove the rule.

The bar set by the IGC is set too low, what L&G offer me for the £88.02 they took in August for managing my account is not great value for money. My benchmark is Pension Bee who do the job properly.

Pension Bee’s latest survey.

I quote from information that arrived from Pension Bee this morning. I am not a Pension Bee customer but am considering moving my money to them, because I want better support,

New research from  PensionBee, finds that less than half (39%) of respondents feel confident about their retirement savings. 42% of savers admit that they don’t feel like engaging with their pensions, which includes checking their balance and making contributions, because it’s too complex.

The existence of thousands of pension products, which use complicated pension jargon, paired with complicated fees are often cited as causing inertia among consumers. However, PensionBee’s latest research also highlights the role of pension providers in this problem, in particular their failure to support their customers. 43% of respondents reported that they are not saving enough for retirement, and that their providers could do more to help them in their savings journey.

While 53% of savers are able to view their pension balance online at any time, a significant number of savers (47%) still receive an annual statement through the post. As a consequence of this lack of regular oversight, more than half of respondents (56%) admit that they are concerned about their pension savings, but do not know where to start in rectifying the problem.

PensionBee CEO, Romi Savova, comments:

“We’ve seen first hand that consumers feel more confident about saving for retirement when they can interact with their pensions online. Using proprietary technology and open APIs, we’ve made it easy for our customers to view their live balance, make contributions and withdrawals, and plan for the future, all while having full transparency on fees.

A wider adoption of modern technology across the pensions industry is needed if we are to tackle dwindling consumer confidence. Regular oversight over one’s pension not only aids in making informed financial decisions, but promotes a greater sense of ownership and engagement over their lifetime, which leads to better outcomes.”

We deserve better

As well as paying L&G £88 pm for managing my account, I paid LGIM £238 pm last month for investing my money. That’s a lot of fees.

I deserve better and so do my fellow savers. We deserve a proper pension dashboard that allows us to “find everything we need to fund our retirement”.

We are still a long way from getting  a dashboard, but I know that in intent and passion for that to happen, I would sooner have Pension Bee on my side – than L&G.

About henry tapper

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