Smart Pension members can ask Alexa about savings

Smart Pension members can ask Alexa about savings

Smart Pension members are now able to use Amazon's Echo family of home hub smart speaker devices to ask several questions about their savings, and make changes to their pension contributions.

The workplace pension provider, with almost half a million members, has launched a hands-free technology that will allow savers to track how much they have invested into their auto-enrolment retirement pot.

'What is my summary?', 'What is my investment report?', 'What is my pension worth?', and 'How much am I paying into my pension?' are some of the questions that savers can ask Alexa, Amazon's virtual assistant.

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Smart Pension members can also make changes to their pension contributions via the device – which immediately notifies the account holder and employer about this change via email.

The provider said the change is just-as-easily reversible.

The Smart Pension 'skill' is accessible on Amazon's Echo family of home hub smart speaker devices (Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Spot and Echo Show) via the skills feature.

This feature can also be accessed directly via the Alexa phone and tablet app (currently only for Android, but likely to roll out to IoS soon) via the blue button, the company said.

Echo Show can also play a short introductory video clip, explaining how an individual's account works.

According to Will Wynne, Smart Pension co-founder and managing director, "the pensions industry is a dinosaur which has seen very little innovation for decades".

He said: "It is time for pensions to catch up with innovations in banking and the broader tech ecosystem.

"Auto-enrolment has given the industry a unique opportunity to engage with a new generation of savers, but if it is to succeed long term, it must develop a very different conversation, because it is a very different saving mentality.

"Using technology to build new tools to serve our members, and drive solutions whilst evolving in-step with regulatory change is a major part of our mission."

The provider said that in Australia, where auto-enrolment has been around for more than 20 years, fintech apps allow savers to check superannuation accounts, make contributions or consolidate pots accrued from different jobs into one.

Mr Wynne said: "That is the future, that the government's pensions dashboard initiative and open banking enable efficient, secure flow and consolidation of financial data and assets.

"We could be ready for that tomorrow as our platform is built with this future in mind.

"But the industry as a whole is a long way from that point in the UK, so in 2018 we are going to start making strides ourselves to bring this information revolution to our members directly."

The plan behind the pension dashboard, which is due to be launched in 2019, is to create the technology to enable savers to see all of their retirement pots in one place at the same time, giving them a greater awareness of their assets and how to plan for their retirement.