Many workplace pension members rely heavily on their financial adviser to help them make sense of their finances, including when it comes to annual benefit statements from their employer. However, few providers’ systems are set up to facilitate the part of advisers in annual benefit statement reviews.

Many Britons, especially those with high disposable incomes or close to retirement, rely on a financial adviser to help make sense of their finances. The Coronavirus pandemic has led to more people seeking advice than ever with three in ten advisers saying they have seen a considerable increase in new enquiries [1] from new clients looking to review their finances.

Annual benefit statements can be an important part of regular review meetings between financial advisers and their clients. A recent survey by fintech Cushon [2] found that whilst 73% of adults said that having a pension and saving for the future was essential, having accessible savings and good benefits is now equally as important.

However, our data shows that few workplace pension providers facilitate access to annual statements by advisers.

Whilst 100% of workplace pension providers offer online/electronic benefit statements, 75% only allow the adviser access to these statements.

Just 2 providers (Aegon Workplace ARC and True Potential) offer access to statements for both member and adviser, whilst an additional 3 (Fidelity, Fidelity Master Trust and Royal London) offer access to all parties.

 

Making reviewing statements with an adviser even harder, 35% of providers offer a view only format for benefit statements with only the member allowed access meaning they cannot even download the statement to provide to their adviser.

Very few workplace pension providers facilitate the intermediary having their literature included with the annual benefit statement. Only Fidelity, Fidelity Master Trust, Standard Life, and Standard Life DC Master Trust are able to offer this service.

Email is the most popular delivery system for online/electronic benefit statements with 55% of providers using it. The extranet (with the adviser needing to pull the message) is the second most popular delivery system for electronic benefit statements, with 50% of workplace pension providers making this route available. Fidelity, Fidelity Master Trust and Royal London facilitate the use of the extranet by advisers alongside the delivery of benefit statements via email to the member.

The least popular delivery route for electronic benefit statements is via a message sent to the adviser’s client management system. Just two providers are sending statements this way. Aegon Workplace ARC enables this route alongside encrypted emails, and True Potential facilitates this route alongside the extranet.

There is also a markable difference between providers’ electronic benefit statements systems when it comes to linking in with additional tools. As a whole with some exceptions, those who enable downloadable files (65%) also seem to link into more tools.

Aegon (Master Trust), Aegon Workplace ARC, Scottish Widows, and Scottish Widows (Master Trust) offer the largest number of links to additional tools for their electronic benefit statements. They link into a risk profiling tool, a portfolio modelling tool, a tax free cash (pension commencement lump sum) calculator, a short fall calculator, a what if calculator, and a salary (exchange) sacrifice calculator.

Sources:

  1. Aegon research with Opinium surveyed 205 financial advisers between 20-26th May 2020

  2. Cushon‘s Financial Resilience research survey was conducted amongst 2,000 individuals and 1,000 HR managers in May 2020.