For the first time in our ratings Scottish Widows have gained six overall gold awards for their Group Personal Pension, Group SIPP and Master Trust propositions, for both the Workplace Pension and Auto-Enrolment.
This demonstrates how Scottish Widows are constantly working to develop and improve their workplace offering and deliver the best outcomes for their members.
Today’s insight takes a closer look the Workplace Pension ratings where they scored GOLD awards in all TEN underlaying areas for their Group Personal Pension.
Product offering & administration:
Scottish Widows Group Personal Pension is hosted on their inhouse platform PAS. They require a minimum of 5 members and average expected minimum monthly member contributions of £150 per member, per month in order to setup a new scheme.
Scottish Widows have a dedicated helpline for members and can accept transfers in from other providers. They also offer an ISA, and GIA along side their pension for members.
At retirement options:
Scottish Widows have a very strong overall at retirement process and they have implemented Investment Pathways. Wake up packs are issued 1 month before turning 50 and include the appropriate retirement risk warnings and a single page summary, along with internal and third-party retirement information and guidance.
Members have access to lifetime, impaired annuities and a flexible drawdown product which can facilitate adviser charging and UFPLS payments and allows members to make ad-hoc withdrawals. Online retirement goal planning tools are also available.
Auto Enrolment process:
Scottish Widows have a fully automated AE process in place to address the needs of all employers. This includes producing member communications, an automated process to address transient workers, cost modelling of schemes and a range of tools and services to help advisers and employers with scheme assessment and member categorisation. They support most payroll frequencies and integrate with multiple payroll providers.
Their system can process in excess of 5,000 employee records in under an hour.
Scottish Widows offer financial wellness initiatives as a part of their proposition. These can be accessed on PC and mobile devices. Access to these services are already granted by the employer following which there will be some manual input from employees. The whole on-boarding process takes less than 5 minutes.
Members can contribute flexible amounts to their savings. Scottish Widows use some gamification techniques with their savings initiatives. Their proposition incorporates Open Banking and can display the user’s bank and credit accounts and summarise their investment policies. Scottish Widow’s proposition supports general financial education using online tools, face to face and apps and mobile devices.
Scottish Widows has a portal for members which can be customised. Within this is a range of projection and modelling tools. They offer wide range of worksite literature which can be customised by the employer and can support all the required member communications (copied to the adviser where required) at no additional cost.
They provide post retirement education to members through presentations and literature. Scottish Widows are offering a chatbot service for their members, but do not currently support video pension statements.
Investment & fund options:
Scottish Widows offer a wide range of funds on their platform consisting of own, other life companies, life-styling, multi-manager, fund of funds, ethical, ESG and guided funds.
They have a range of default investment options, which can be customised by advisers and are monitored closely. The current core fund used for AE is the Balanced Pension Investment Approach (PIA)Targeting flexible access.
Online Member Services:
Scottish Widows offer their members a full native app which has all the same features and functionality as the online member portal. The app does not yet have any transactional capability, but the portal does.
Scottish Widows offer free online switching 24/7 without the need for the client’s signature, along with a bulk member switching facility. Members and Advisers can update and amended personal details via the app or portal.
IT Resilience and Continuity:
Scottish Widows have very good processes and procedures in place in respect of IT security, provisioning, continuity and resilience.
Scottish Widows have all the right processes in place to ensure that in the case of an IT disaster there will be minimum impact on their staff and members. They use a secure method for sending and receiving all emails as well Document Rights Management software.
Record keeping & governance:
Scottish Widows have independent representatives who form part of their governance committee and an independent chairman. They consider the views of external advisers when making investment fund decisions and monitor the performance of funds in line with their objectives on a monthly basis looking in detail at fund performance, volatility, external research, error tracking, fund liquidity and charges.
Scottish Widows adhere to CCA Global Standards 7 when benchmarking their administration and governance processes.
Scottish Widows offers very good support services to both the adviser and employer. This includes dedicated contacts to support scheme set up, transfers, new joiners and leavers.
Scottish Widows also have a implementation hub/portal to assist with the implementation process, which will track all the steps required in order to set a new scheme up and provide alerts or messages for the user when actions are required.
They also offer call centre (outside of core hours and weekends) support and web-based services. Scottish Widows offer full training to all parties and the system implementation process takes 1-2 months which is monitored by a dedicated account manager.
To view the full medals tables, all the awards and the accompanying provider factsheets please visit www.benefitsguru.co.uk/ratings/