Lack of resources and technology is causing major challenges for trustees, report shows

Lack of resources, time and technology are the main causes of some of the biggest challenges facing pension scheme trustees and managers, a new report has revealed.

According to Capita's Pension Scheme Insight Report 2016, over half of pension scheme managers and trustees find member engagement and GMP reconciliation to be the main challenges facing their schemes over the next 12 months.

The new report, which surveyed 110 pension decision-makers, showed 53.5 per cent of trustees and managers are most concerned about GMP reconciliation, while 42.7 per cent are worried about improving member education and engagement.

But importantly, the data shed light on the the “fundamental” issue that most trustees and managers have a considerable lack of resource, time and technology to be able to tackle both challenges.

Regarding GMP reconciliation, the report said the initial analysis stage is “really just a matter of grunt work rather than requiring any deep technical understanding”.

But, it added: “Such grunt work is laborious and time consuming.”

“Likewise the second biggest challenge, member education and engagement, requires both time and technology," it continued.

"Time is needed to truly segment the membership and consider the best means of communicating with each cohort while technology may be needed to deliver personalised messages to the appropriate groups within that membership

"Others will still prefer paper-based information, group session and one-to-one time."

Statistics from the survey further revealed almost 40 per cent of pension decision makers consider working towards DB de-risking to be a major challenge, while 36 per cent are more concerned about processing requests following the pension freedoms.

However, in terms of implementing the charge cap, just 0.9 per cent find it to be one of the main challenges facing their pension schemes over the next year.

Commenting on the findings, Capita head of marketing and research Robin Hames said there were “at least eight serious challenges” with others such as pensions liberation and re-enrolment also being flagged by a significant percentage.

“It is evident that the demands on those seeking to successfully run a pension scheme require individuals to be exceptions to the good professor’s view,” Hames said.

He added that it is also clear that cost and resource, or more accurately managing cost and resource, remain “very pertinent issues”.

“While the very largest schemes may have the necessary resources at their disposal, the vast majority of schemes are, at best, stretched.”

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