Guest Comment: Clear communication

Written by PLSA policy lead for engagement, EU and international James Walsh
04/09/17

One of my pet obsessions – after years of grappling with EU pensions developments and trying to translate them for readers of this column – is clear communication.

Of course, pensions can be complicated and the many layers of regulatory requirements don’t always help. Some schemes and providers do a fantastic job of providing savers with clearly written information in plain English in a way that works for the recipient. We need to get everyone up to that level.

Now I have a chance to do something about this communications challenge, because I have been asked to lead the PLSA’s work on ‘engagement’.

The first item in my in-tray is the FCA’s consultation on transfers out of DC schemes. With low interest rates inflating transfer values, it’s no surprise that savers are getting offers that might sound too good to refuse. Yet for most people, staying in the DB scheme will almost always be the best option.

It’s vital that people in these situations get the guidance or advice they need and the FCA is right to ask whether the existing rules still work in a world of pension freedoms. They also need to make sure people are well protected against scams. Part of the challenge is making the regulatory system flexible enough so it works for people with very different circumstances but without creating loopholes for the bad guys to exploit.

I would be delighted to hear your views on this and other communications issues.

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