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PensionBee adopts simple pension statement

PensionBee adopts simple pension statement

Consolidator PensionBee is one of the first providers to adopt a simpler annual statement, which includes costs and charges and can be viewed on a smartphone.

The fintech provider responded to the government’s challenge, which is considering if legislation is needed to prompt pension companies to adopt simpler statements.

PensionBee delivered its two-page annual statement this week to some 25,000 customers with live accounts.

The document is fully mobile optimised, as more than 80 per cent of PensionBee’s customers access their pension information on their smartphones. 

Unlike the official version, which included only the statutory requirement on cost disclosure, PensionBee chose to include its charges and fees within the statement.

The simpler annual statement, which was developed collaboratively by an industry group in response to the government's 2017 review of auto-enrolment, provides information on the amount of money someone has saved into their particular pension scheme, the amount their employer has contributed, the tax relief they have benefited from and the amount of money they have in the scheme.

It is being supported by trade bodies and regulators, which have urged pension providers to adopt the new statement when communicating with their members.

The document was developed collaboratively by Ruston Smith, co-chairman of the DWP's 2017 automatic enrolment review advisory board and chairman of the Tesco Pension Fund, Vincent Franklin and Mark Scantlebury from communication consultants Quietroom, and Karen Mumgaard and Francois Barker from law firm Eversheds Sutherland.

According to Clare Reilly, head of corporate development at PensionBee, the new statement will help consumers make more sense of their pensions.

She said: "For too long, pensions have been shrouded in mystery and complexity. At PensionBee, our mission is to make pensions simple and we are delighted to lead the way on this important initiative."

Mr Opperman said: "I am 110 per cent committed to simpler statements and am pleased to see PensionBee adopting the simpler annual statement. I look forward to the rest of industry doing the same thing in 2019."

Darren Cooke, a chartered financial planner at Red Circle Financial Planning, said many providers send annual statements to clients "that are frankly an insult to the trees cut down to provide the paper they are printed on".

He said: "I saw one recently form a large life company with 12 pages of utter drivel, the only useful information was last year’s value and the current value, less than three lines in those 12 pages.

"A standardised format for annual statements, including group personal or group money purchase, that sets out key information simply and clearly in no more than two pages, would be very good to help the public understand their pensions.

"Sadly I think relying on the providers to adopt this is a pipe dream and it will only happen if legislation or the Financial Conduct Authority requires it."

maria.espadinha@ft.com