Friday Highlight  

The language of pensions

However, Henry Tapper, executive chair at AgeWage, says there is further room for improvement with pensions communications: “We need to be more honest with customers and tell them what is going on with their pensions − good or bad. 

“Communications need to be factual and relevant. People will prioritise retirement savings where they feel they are experienced enough to take decisions, and that means giving them relevant personal information.”

And just improving communications is not enough, says Tait: “Changing the language will only do so much − what we need is a simpler taxation regime for pensions and easier access for people who want to check their pension. 

“The pensions dashboard should provide the access needed and make pensions more user-friendly for the majority of people who are not pensions experts.

“It is taking a long time to deliver, which is unsurprising given the many sources of data required. However, it has the potential to be the ‘go to’ place for all pension planning.”  

Flexibility around access to information is also key for pension savers, says Tapper: “I hope that we see more updates delivered digitally to people’s chosen devices and in a way that suits the saver.

"I support the use of dashboards for finding, displaying and comparing pension pots and for giving people the chance to take decisions based not just on their pots but on their pensions. Dashboards, like provider websites, should be available 24/7.”  

Tapper says he is unsurprised about the small number of people seeking pensions advice from financial advisers: “Like mortgage brokers, financial advisers are wanted occasionally and for transactional purposes.

"Most advisers prefer an ongoing relationship with their clients, which most people do not want and cannot afford.”

It is also due to lack of knowledge, says Tait: “Many people are unaware of the value that a financial adviser can deliver to them."  

And if they do not already know an adviser or know of one, this can be a drawback too. “The adage that ‘people buy people’ is very relevant when it comes to financial advice,” she adds.

Tait says: “The profession is itself to blame for much of this, as there have been well-publicised failures from time to time and we don’t seem to have found a common voice to promote the positive side of what we do.

"The fact is that most people trust their own adviser, but they don’t trust the profession as a whole.”