PLSA AC 2020: Developing an at-retirement option seen as key challenge for DC trustees

Developing an at-retirement option for members has been voted as the key challenge, alongside the increased burden on regulation, facing defined contribution (DC) scheme trustees in a Phoenix Group poll.

When attendees were asked what the key challenge was alongside increased regulation at the PLSA Annual Conference 2020, 38 per cent believed it was developing the at-retirement option.

Demonstrating value for money through fund choices and getting clear data was identified as the next biggest challenge, with 31 per cent of respondents selecting it.

Around one in five (21 per cent) said getting enough data on members to make informed choices was the key challenge, while 10 per cent said it was how to incorporate ESG into their default strategy.

“The world of DC pensions is fast-moving and the regulatory responsibilities on trustees is increasing, but the most important thing is engaging and supporting members in a relevant and meaningful way and that is vital to ensure they have a stable retirement,” said Phoenix Group workplace pensions director, Gail Izat.

“Things like knowing your members is key and the use of data and analytics is going to become more and more important. Providing the right guidance and giving members the access to right tools no matter what stage they are at, this can range from education communications to solutions like instant drawdown.”

Izat also encouraged DC trustees to make sure they have access to the funds they want now, but “most importantly” the investment strategies they want in the future, with ESG expected to become “more and more important”.

Finally, she urged trustees to think about choice and the way that they engage with their members to suit their individual needs.

“We all have preferred ways of engaging, whether that is through an online dashboard, a app, a tool, or speaking to people,” Izat stated.

“Some of these retirement decisions are complex so I think being able to speak to a real human being is quite important. I think you need to continue to obsess about do you have the right choice for the varying engagement preferences your members have.”

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