GMP Equalisation Working Group issues member communication guidance

The cross industry GMP Equalisation Working Group (GMPEWG) has published guidance to help trustees effectively communicate the complexities of GMP equalisation to their scheme members.

It is designed for schemes in the early planning stages of GMP equalisation, where trustees are considering how they will approach their communications and how they will work with administrators.

The GMPEWG, which is chaired by the Pensions Administration Standards Association (Pasa), warned that these communications would not be a “one size fits all” situation and members will need to be communicated with differently.

It urged trustees to consider what their members need to know, how they want them to feel and what they want them to do.

However, the GMPEWG noted that there is no requirement to say anything to members yet and saying nothing may currently be the correct approach.

“Lots of schemes only talk to members when they have to – when there’s a change to the scheme or when members need to make a decision,” the guidance stated.

“If that is true for you, think about whether GMP Equalisation is any more significant than other potential changes you’d have to talk about, like annual pension increases.”

Despite this, it noted that there are good reasons to speak to members now, including if trustees have already communicated with members about GMP equalisation and clarification is needed, if GMP reconciliation had already begun, or if members have had multiple employers and may be receiving information from several sources

The GMPEWG also recommended that trustees help their administrators as they are “at the front line”.

It urged trustees to provide administrators with the appropriate level of resources, training, and reference materials.

Trustees were also encouraged to review and update their regular communications to make sure they are consistent in their references to GMP.

Furthermore, jargon in member communications should be relatively simple and consistent, according to the GMPEWG, to help members understand the situation.

Pasa GMP Equalisation Communications Sub-Group chair, Louise Harris, commented: “Communicating GMP equalisation is a complex subject – something that members aren’t expecting but need to know about, and something as an industry we should help them to understand.

“This committee, comprised of a diverse group of experts, are using their many different skills in communications to help guide and support schemes in how they approach explaining any changes to members and hopefully, at the same time, drive consistency in communication across the industry.

“This will be particularly important in instances where individuals might have had multiple employers in their working life, and so might potentially be receiving communications on the same issue from several different sources.

“Our guidance is very much driven by member, not industry, need and our guiding principles in writing it have been simple, no jargon, inclusive and practical.”

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