Our data shows that all workplace pension providers offer some form of member portal, but not all portals are made equal with a vast range of functionality differences across the board.

Our latest insight looks at digital member portals, the security in place, what products and services are included, and what functionality different workplace pension providers offer their members on their respective portals.

With lockdowns to stop the spread of Coronavirus limiting social interaction and closing banking branches, more people turned to managing their finances online. With the pandemic seemingly having caused a significant longer-term shift in consumer behaviour, easy access for members to manage their workplace pensions is more relevant than ever.

The Government clearly thinks that the online management of pensions is the future. When the Conservative Party won the latest general election in 2019 the much-delayed Pensions Bill came back onto the agenda with a vengeance and the Pensions Dashboards project moved ahead. Whilst savers hoping to see their retirement pots in one place online under Pension Dashboards, most workplace pension members are already able to manage many aspects of their pension online through member portals.

It comes as no surprise that our data shows that all workplace pension providers now offer a member portal as part of their offering, with no additional member or employer cost. However, what they show and how they are accessed differs between each provider.

Security appears to be an area that has received a lot of attention from some workplace pension providers over the past year where their member portals are concerned.

Our data shows that less than half of workplace pension provider portals (43%) only require a single factor authentication at login, in comparison to almost two thirds a year ago. A quarter (29%) require duel factor authentication and the remaining require multifactor authentication (ie. more than two). This is detailed further in the table below.

A password is still the most common form of authentication the portals can accept, with all providers offering this. PIN codes are also commonly accepted. However, several providers have embraced more cutting-edge authentication technologies and can now accept fingerprint (48%) and/or facial recognition (48%) as a form of authentication, when logging in on a mobile device. This is a slight increase from the 40% of providers able to offer this last year.

It is great to see that over half (58%) of workplace pension providers have developed a secure messaging functionality for their member portal. However, only Aegon Master Trust, Cushon, Hargreaves Lansdown, Legal & General, Legal & General Master Trust, Standard Life, Standard Life DC Master Trust and True Potential have enabled their members to upload and share documents using these secure messaging systems.

Other than for Hargreaves Lansdown, there is also a documents folder within the portal where the member can access all important plan related documents.

As Brits look to manage multiple products through one system with the advent of Open Banking, all  providers now also include other products and services within their workplace pensions member portal. It’s no longer just about the pension.

The most included products are ISAs (81%) and GIAs (71%), little change from a year ago.

Many of the providers who also have an insurance related background also offer protection and insurance products.

Aviva Designer, Aviva My Money, Aviva My Money (Master Trust), Legal & General, Legal & General (Master Trust), Mercer Master Trust (Aviva), Standard Life, and Standard Life (DC Master Trust) all offer workplace pension members protection products through their portal.

Aviva Designer, Aviva My Money, Aviva My Money (Master trust), Legal & General, Legal & General (Master Trust), and Mercer Master Trust (Aviva) also offer general insurance products on their portals.

As more employers focus on the mental, physical, and financial wellness of their employees, workplace pension providers have increasingly offered these kinds of services.

Financial wellness services are now common amongst workplace pension provider portals, with all providers other than Hargreaves Lansdown offering them. Mental wellness services are also quite popular with 48% of providers offering them on their portals. Whereas physical wellness services have yet to gain much traction with providers with only 6 providers offering them on their member portal.

The portals for two thirds of workplace pension providers can also be tailored to include specific content from the employer. The providers who offer this are Aegon Master Trust, Aviva Designer, Aviva My Money, Aviva My Money Master Trust, Cushon, Fidelity, Fidelity Master Trust, Hargreaves Lansdown, Legal & General, Legal & General Master Trust, Mercer Master Trust Aviva, Mercer Master Trust Scottish Widows, Scottish Widows GSIPP and Scottish Widows Master Trust.

Part two of this insight will be published next week and will explore what data, information and functionality is available via the member portal.