Women disproportionately impacted by low engagement levels

Women are less than half as likely to be engaged with their pension under the current approach to communications, with analysis of Financial Conduct Authority data revealing that 12 per cent of women are "highly engaged" compared to 26 per cent of men.

The analysis, conducted by Just Group, found that a high proportion of people are not taking an interest in pension matters, warning that this could have a disproportionate impact on women, whose lower value pensions make them more vulnerable to poor choices.

In particular, it found that women are less likely to read their defined contribution (DC) pension statement, with 6 per cent of men admitting that they do not read this, compared to 14 per cent of men.

Furthermore, whilst nearly half (44 per cent) of men were unaware of charges on their DC pension, and a further 46 per cent had not reviewed how much their pension was worth, these figures increased to 60 per cent and 57 per cent for women, respectively.

Women had also engaged less with their investments, with 40 per cent of men stating that they did not choose where their pension was invested, compared to 53 per cent of women.

The provider argued that the current approach towards pension communications means women are less than half as likely as men to be engaged, with Just's research revealing that 12 per cent of women were aware of the entitlement to free guidance from Pension Wise, compared to 20 per cent of men.

Commenting on the findings, Just Group group communications director, Stephen Lowe, said: “Sending out information is easy, but the hard part is presenting it in a form that engages and informs a wide range of people

“Most people say they do read their annual statement although the number who don’t is more than double that for women than men.

“Anything more complex – knowing what the charges are or whether they choose the investments – shows much lower levels of engagement, especially among women.

“The system works best where people who are engaged with their pensions have the freedom to make active decisions but those who are less interested are protected from harm.

“The current weak point is where defined contribution savers start to make decisions about how best to use their funds, at this point they are most vulnerable to poor choices and to falling for scams.”

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