PLSA AC 18: Savers struggle to engage with stewardship due to 'poor signposting’ on provider website

Pension savers that wish to engage with stewardship “can’t find their way” due to “poor signposting” on pension provider websites, according to ShareAction investor engagement manager Anne-Marie Williams.

Speaking in a panel debate on investment stewardship at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings association’s annual conference today, 18 October, Williams said there is a “real appetite” for engaging with stewardship.

In addition, she said it is important that savers are engaged early on in their retirement savings journey, are that people are informed that their money is being invested in real companies that do real things such as running wind farms, or other things that they might not agree with.

However, she warned that “there isn’t great signposting on pension websites”, and people want to engage but they can’t find their way, and “that is a really big point”.

Also on the panel was Scottish Widows senior manager, responsible investment and fund development, investment strategy and execution, Kaisie Rayner, who said that stewardship to them is holding companies to account through shareholder resolutions, or asking questions at AGMs.

She added that Scottish Widows’ approach is informed by the conversations that they are having with customers, “so we can be really clear on the kind of things that are important to them”.

During the session delegates were asked whether talking more about their stewardship activities to members would encourage them to further engage with their retirement saving. In response, 86 per cent said yes, 9 per cent said no, and 5 per cent said they did not know.

State Street Global Advisors EMEA head of asset stewardship Robert Walker was asked what the under the radar risks are for companies right now, which he said was big data.

“They are focusing on the pricing of data, data privacy and cyber security is increasingly becoming big areas of focus for companies,” he said, adding that with cyber security there now needs to be reporting lines into a technology director.

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