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Regulators launch call for input on improving the consumer pensions journey

Ref: PN21-13

Issued: Tuesday 18 May 2021

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.

Since the launch of automatic enrolment in 2012, 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, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and the Financial Conduct Authority (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.

The regulators today 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 30 June 2021.

Notes to editors

The consumer pensions journey

Different factors influence people’s engagement with their pensions and their consumer journey as a whole, such as:

  • employment type
  • structural societal issues including ethnicity or the gender pay gap
  • behavioural biases, which make long-term financial projections difficult
  • barriers from the nature of pensions themselves - including low financial capability and difficulty in changing products

Understanding these issues will help regulators bring forward interventions which help savers make decisions about their retirement savings which are best for them in a system working as efficiently as possible.

In October 2018, TPR and the FCA launched a joint regulatory strategy to direct action which would deliver better outcomes for pension savers. It looked to address one overarching harm: People not having adequate income, or the level of income they expected, in retirement.

Two major areas for future work were outlined:

  • a review of the pensions consumer journey
  • benchmarking value for money in pension schemes

TPR’s Corporate Strategy also outlined that scrutinising savers’ decision-making is a key strategic priority area for the regulator.

  • TPR is the regulator of work-based pension schemes in the UK. Our statutory objectives are: to protect members’ benefits; to reduce the risk of calls on the Pension Protection Fund (PPF); to promote, and to improve understanding of, the good administration of work-based pension schemes; to maximise employer compliance with automatic enrolment duties; and to minimise any adverse impact on the sustainable growth of an employer (in relation to the exercise of TPR’s functions under Part 3 of the Pensions Act 2004 only).
  • Find out more information about the FCA.

Press contacts

Dan Menhinnitt

Media Officer
pressoffice@tpr.gov.uk
01273 349511

Matt Adams

Senior Media and Parliamentary Manager
pressoffice@tpr.gov.uk
01273 662086

Out of hours

This is for journalists only with a media enquiry. The below number will divert to our on call media officer.
pressoffice@tpr.gov.uk
01273 648496

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