Communication strategy among 10 pandemic priorities for pension schemes outlined by Aon

Developing a communication strategy that uses technology to provide support and guidance to members is “essential” for pension schemes, according to a new guide published by Aon.

The Adapting and Enhancing Pension Scheme Effectiveness report claimed that there is also a “heightened need for a wider communications strategy” due to the increased number of scammers targeting pension scheme members and the impact that market volatility could have on defined contribution pension members.

The report, which lists improvements schemes can make during the Covid-19 pandemic, recommended testing crisis management plans now and then every two years, establishing regular dialogue with sponsors and focusing on using an investment strategy that works towards the scheme’s key objectives.

Further measures listed by the report include changes to documentation, working out what sort of meetings work best for each scheme and finding time for trustee training, which is likely to come in the form of a group participation webinar.

The guide also said schemes should embrace working with providers to understand their difficulties, assessing their scheme’s current performance and maintaining an awareness of the risks posed by the change in working conditions caused by coronavirus.

Aon partner, Susan Hoare, commented: “While much has changed and is still changing in 2020, one thing hasn't and that is members’ needs, so it's paramount that pension schemes find ways to maintain the highest of standards whatever the circumstances.”

Hoare continued: “Everyone knows the maxim of making good use of a crisis, but this has been an exceptional year that has probably changed many business practices permanently. Pension schemes are no exception to this and many have already taken steps to find new ways of doing things and, in many cases, have done so very successfully.

“We may well yet have a long time to go in this pandemic-driven period, so scheme governance and practices need to remain agile in adapting to circumstances as they change. We hope that the thinking and suggestions in this paper – drawn from advising and observing many of our clients – will be helpful to schemes in finding ways that will work well for them and their members.”

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