A workplace pension is likely to be one of an individual’s longest held investments. Over a period of years, often decades, it is likely that they will change their personal details and retirement choices multiple times, therefore today’s insight explores how easy workplace pension providers make these changes for members, advisers and employers.

In years gone by, changing personal details and retirement choices with a workplace pension provider was a long and laborious process involving a lot of paperwork. Our data shows that thankfully now all workplace pension providers allow members to make changes online, at any time via the member portal or app.

However, different providers have different restrictions about who can make changes on the behalf of members.

When it comes to changing an address, our data shows that 80% of workplace pension providers will allow members, advisers and employers to make the change. Aviva Designer, Hargreaves Lansdown, and Salvus will only allow the member to make the change. True Potential allow the employer and the member to change the address. Keeping an update record of a member’s address is crucial if important documentation is still being issued via post.

For most providers this is an automated process carried out via the member portal or app as changes are made, other than for Hargreaves Lansdown who capture the data for manual processing afterwards.

For changing a retirement date, 65% of workplace pension providers will allow all parties to make the change. Aegon Workplace ARC, Aviva Designer, Hargreaves Lansdown and Salvus will only allow the member to make the change. For Standard Life both the adviser and the member can make the change. True Potential will allow the employer and the member to make the change.

For the majority (80%) of providers this is again a back end automated process, other than for Aviva My Money, Aviva My Money Master Trust, Hargreaves Lansdown, and Mercer Master Trust Aviva, where the data is captured for manual processing.

When it comes to changing a member’s expression of wishes, workplace pension providers are more restrictive. Our data shows that 90% of providers will only allow the member to make the change. Aviva My Money Master Trust and True Potential will also allow the employer to make the change.

For a change of name, change of marital status, or a correction to a date of birth, our data shows that 90% of providers allow both the member and employer to make the change. Again, for the most part carried out online via the member portal.

When it comes to changing bank account details or details of a spouse, the majority of providers allow both the member and the employer to make the change.

Income withdrawal changes are a slightly more complex process. Our data shows that 60% of workplace pension providers will allow the member and employer to make the change, and 30% will only allow the member to do so. Fidelity do not allow either to make the change online.

When it comes to keeping the financial adviser informed of such changes, workplace pension providers are a little more lax. Just over half (55%) of providers will not notify the adviser if a member makes changes to their policy and/or personal details online. Of those that so, 25% will notify the adviser via email, and 20% will call or notify the adviser via a letter.

Advisers are also limited in their ability to restrict access to online changes. Almost three quarters (75%) of workplace pension providers do not have any facility for the adviser, employer or the member to place restrictions on what can be changed online. Only Royal London and Standard Life allow the adviser to add restrictions. Aviva Designer allow both the adviser and the member to add restrictions. Aviva My Money and Aviva My Money Master Trust allow adviser, member and employer to add restrictions.

Overall, our data shows that making changes to policy or personal details online is a lot easier than it used to be before online member services became commonplace. However, it is worth noting that True Potential, Hargeaves Lansdown, Salvus and Aviva Designer have a very limited facility for advisers to be making changes to this data on behalf of members.