The reputational risk of not caring.

“Not caring” is different from “care free” but not that different. There is a fine line between being cool and being cold, it’s what defines the creation tension in much of what I hear from Kendrick Lamar , Stormzy and Jay-Z. I’m not qualified to comment on black youth culture but that doesn’t stop me listening to the podcasts of George the Poet, recognising that economic empowerment is how you get drugs and violence off the streets, music being a positive means to replace crime as a way of making it – sport  another.

Do we really care out retirement outcomes?

compassion, indulgence, leniency, mercy, generosity, goodness, kindness, love, tenderness, affection, agape, altruism, amity, attachment, benevolence, benignity, bountifulness, bounty, clemency, goodwill

The financial services industry would say yes, but it may not have the reputation for caring for anyone other than itself ( a reverse of what happens in rap music). We like to relate to the words in the box but selectively.

Do we care for the excluded (or just for the included)

For instance, yesterday, Nest Insight published more on its Payroll Autosave initiative.  But meanwhile , the highest opt-out rate from employers with a Nest workplace pension is in the over 50s demographic. As these “non – savers” become state pensioners, they are very likely to be retiring on at best a full state pension and most likely rather less. They are the people who no one in financial services has a stake in, because we don’t hold any of their money. They are the people who are eligible but 30% likely to be not claiming, pension credit).

And every workplace pension is required to keep a record of who has opted out, albeit a partial record and only for four years. And the employer similarly has to keep the opt-out form for four years. So though we do not know them, we know of them. These people may be opting out for reasons of wealth (LTA, AA etc.) but they are more likely to be opting out because they are poor and they cannot afford to save.

Returning to Nest, Nest has been getting opt-outs since auto-enrolment began back in 2012, it may not have kept notices of opt-outs for those prior to 2018 (under the four year rule), but let’s hope that it was harder to destroy the data than keep it. Nest and a few other big master trusts will have collectively a data base, not just of those with small pots but of people with no pots.

The purpose of Nest Insight and (I take it) of initiatives such as “Payroll Autosave” is to help those on the margin of financial inclusion to get in the habit of saving. But this initiative can only help those who are in Nest in the first place.

What my campaign to improve Pension Credit awareness is about, is reaching those people who haven’t saved and are now in the direst trouble , having real problems with “heating and eating”.

Identifying the large group of over 50s who have opted out since the start of auto-enrolment, is well within the scope of the large workplace pension providers, especially if their records are maintained on their systems (when Nest will know ages and national insurance numbers). Even if this information is not stored now, it could be in future.

And it’s vital that we keep the interests of the savings excluded to the front of our mind, for they are the people who most need to be contacted and given the information they need for claiming pension credit.

From the private sector to the private sector

I don’t come from Compton or Broadwater Farm (I’ve never been to these places). I’m a white 60 year old liberal man. But I’m not a bleeding heart. I want to live in a country where people access support by right as well as by charity. I would rather we didn’t have to have food banks because people had their own wage in retirement which is why saving is best. But I do not give up on those who haven’t saved as beyond help.

Selective caring – caring for those who make us money is in the blood – it’s called relationship management, but caring for those who we don’t know – who may have sapt in our eye, is another thing. That is Caritas – Charity – of the highest order. Doing is one of the ways can we restore confidence in private pensions.

Why Pension PlayPen is sponsoring “Pension Credit – it’s for you”


The little case study above is only one of the ideas that is going on in my head on how the private sector can get to those who don’t save with the private sector. I hope that Nest Insight and other philanthropic foundations set up by workplace pension providers, will respond to our campaign positively , with their best ideas. If these ideas are pooled and put to the DWP, as I have been asked to do in June, then perhaps we can counter the reputational risk , the financial services industry has , for not caring, with some factual evidence that we do.


About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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1 Response to The reputational risk of not caring.

  1. Richard Chilton says:

    I think you will find that many of the over-50s who have opted out of auto-enrolment are neither headed for Pension Credit nor are too poor to save. They have simply thought that it is not worth it at their age as it won’t name make much difference to their future.

    To some degree, they are right in this assessment. They are often on low pay, perhaps working part-time and are not likely to build up more than a few £K in their pot. What they often haven’t appreciated is that auto-enrolment means that they are getting “free” money paid in by their employer, money that they wouldn’t get otherwise. It may only be a few hundreds or thousands of £, but it is money that they wouldn’t get if they weren’t enrolled. They will often be able to take that money later (if they know how best to do so) with little or no tax or effect on any benefits.

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