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Regulators aim to improve consumer pensions journey

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have today launched a new call for input asking the pensions industry how consumers make decisions about their pension at key points throughout their working lives.

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Since the launch of automatic enrolment in 2012, TPR said there has been a seismic shift in the pensions landscape, with 15 times as many savers in accumulation within defined contribution schemes than in accumulation within defined benefit schemes.

 

This shift means savers carry more of the risk in planning for their retirement and have more decisions to make than ever before.

 

As a result, TPR and FCA are working to explore the factors affecting how consumers save for their retirement and to find ways to improve the journey from joining the workforce to retirement.

 

On Tuesday (May 18), the regulators launched a call for input to prompt a broad discussion with industry and gain insights that will help shape future targeted regulatory interventions.

 

Richard Edes, interim director of strategy and risk at TPR, said: “The past decade has seen a pensions revolution with many more savers now putting something away for retirement.

 

“But decisions made by savers, some that they aren’t even aware of, can have a significant impact on the kind of retirement outcomes they can expect.

 

“That’s why we want views on how we can improve the pensions consumer journey, putting savers at the heart of all that we do and supporting them now and in the future.”

 

Sheldon Mills, executive director, consumers and competition, at the FCA, said: “Automatic enrolment and pension freedoms have changed the pensions landscape. Individual consumers now have more responsibility than ever before for making decisions about their pension savings.

 

“It is important our regulation keeps up with what is happening in reality. We want to hear about what is working well and where the consumer journey can be improved.”

 

Improving the consumer journey

When thinking about a pension, there will be decisions savers make, actively or passively, at different stages of their lives. These include: starting a pension, building up funds, approaching retirement, accessing their pension and finally spending their pension savings.

 

The newly launched call for input seeks to gather information on what influences consumers across this journey and find out how they can be better supported to achieve improved pensions outcomes.

 

The views gathered will inform policy making and will be used to target any future regulatory interventions at areas of greatest benefit to consumers.

 

The regulators are calling for responses from a broad range of interested parties including, but not limited to:

  • Pension providers;
  • Pension trustees;
  • Consumer groups;
  • Academics;
  • Employers;
  • Trade bodies.

Those with insights into any of the questions asked can respond by emailing PensionsConsumerJourneyCFI@fca.org.uk and PensionsConsumerJourneyCFI@tpr.gov.uk before June 30 2021.

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