Pensions Engagement Season partners with Pension Awareness Week

Pardon the Interruption

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For its first instalment this autumn the Pensions Engagement Season, a government idea promoted by industry, is partnering with Pension Awareness Week, the existing annual campaign to highlight pensions. Can they succeed in making pensions a topic of everyday conversation? 
The Pensions Engagement Season is a three-year initiative to boost engagement and was announced in April by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association and the Association of British Insurers. The joint campaign will run in autumn and winter this year to explain how to identify pension providers, keep details up to date and check how much a pot is worth. 
An engagement season was envisaged by the current pensions minister and is modelled on the annual send-out of an ‘orange envelope’ containing a pensions statement to savers in Sweden. In October 2020, the government recognised that industry was not in favour of sending pension statements to all savers at the same time for operational reasons; but it held on to its view that there should be an annual statement season nonetheless. At the time it noted that there was support for a communications campaign, however. 

‘Bring retirement saving into everyday conversation’ 

The industry coalition that leads the UK efforts has now joined forces with Pension Awareness Week, an annual campaign created in 2014 by the Pension Geeks. Pension Awareness Week is taking place from 12 to 16 September this year, offering five days of digital events with industry and government representatives. 
The government hopes that if people all receive pension information around the same time, this will generate discussion among savers and raise awareness. Pensions minister Guy Opperman said it was great to see the two campaigns work together to help savers “get to grips with their pensions and bring retirement saving into everyday conversation” 
He added: “These efforts complement the crucial work already underway on pensions dashboards and simpler statements, and I’m looking forward to working collectively as we seek to bring about a step change in how the record number of Brits now saving for retirement engage with their pension.”  
Rachel Parkinson, a co-founder of Pension Geeks, said pensions can feel like a minefield for people, who need practical help. “We're thrilled that the campaign will serve as the opener to the Pensions Engagement Season and to be uniting with the wider industry - together we can have a much greater impact,” she said. 
Yvonne Braun, the ABI’s director of policy, long-term savings and protection, said the campaigns will help people build confidence around retirement saving. “As an industry, we will be most effective in this endeavour when we are speaking with one voice," she added. 
Pension Awareness Week is well established and recognisable, said Nigel Peaple, director of policy and advocacy at the PLSA. “We have been really encouraged by the number of organisations that have come forward to get involved with the Pensions Engagement Season initiative and that have asked us how they can help reach savers with the simple and clear messages planned for this pan-pensions industry campaign,” he said.  
Two new funders have also joined the industry initiative, provider Aegon and master trust Cushon, meaning 17 providers and schemes have now committed to support the season. 
The sponsors of Pensions Engagement Season currently include Aegon, Aviva, Cushon, Fidelity, L&G, Nest, Now Pensions, Pru - Part of M&G Group, Royal London, Scottish Widows, Smart Pension, Standard Life - part of Phoenix Group, and The People's Pension. Railpen, the Universities Superannuation Scheme, provider Just and investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown are supporters of the group. 

Will the Pensions Engagement Season get people to talk about pensions? 

John Chilman
Bart Heenk
Stefan Lundbergh
Tim Gosling
Matthew Hill

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