We use our knowledge and experience to support people to manage their money and save for their future. We want to be people’s first choice for their life savings.
Our customers and clients range from trustees of pension funds who are looking to meet future liabilities with the best performance return possible, to young savers being enrolled for the first time in a workplace pension scheme or setting up an ISA.
Financial capability, guidance and advice
Individuals are having to take ever greater responsibility for often complex financial decisions but can lack both financial knowledge and confidence. This points to a need for more education, support and guidance. We have the expertise and the desire to help.
We are responding to the advice gap people are facing in a variety of ways. By building our advice business 1825, and supporting 3rd party IFAs through our platforms and associated services, we provide high quality face-to-face and telephony advice to customers. More broadly, we also provide proactive guidance and support. For example, we have colleagues available to help on the phone in our Customer Hub, we hold education events, and we have a range of information, guidance, blogs and tools available online.
To help increase financial capability, we’ve joined with 19 other savings and investment firms to back an initiative called KickStart Money. The project aims to deliver financial education to over 18,000 primary school children across the UK helping to create a national savings culture.
Inclusion and insight
We are always looking at ways to make saving easier and more inclusive. We use insight from our customers’ and clients’ to improve our services and products.
Auto-enrolment has made a huge difference to the savings landscape in the UK, requiring employers to automatically set up pensions for their employees, helping nudge people into the saving habit. During 2017 we celebrated an important milestone on this journey – five years of auto-enrolment. One in eight of the nearly nine million UK employees auto-enrolled in workplace pensions are saving with us.
We recognise that our customers could be facing personal challenges or difficulties in their personal lives. To ensure we identify and provide the right support and guidance to them, we’ve put in place our vulnerable customers policy. The policy focuses on areas such as the design and promotion of our products and propositions, communications and interactions with our customers, and the capability of our people, to ensure we are always focusing on our customers’ best interests.
Transparency and suitability
To increase customer trust we need to ensure our products and services are suitable for customers and that our pricing is transparent, clear and fair.
To help improve potential outcomes for over a million of our customers we made changes to one of the funds used in our ‘lifestyling’ investment solution. Phased switching or lifestyling, often the default investment option for pensions, was designed to help maintain the level of annuity that people can buy by gradually investing their funds in assets that change in line with annuity rates as they approach retirement approaches. However the new pension freedoms rules means less people are buying annuities and instead want to remain invested after retirement or draw out lump sums so annuity targeted lifestyling is not always the best option. These changes we have implemented are therefore driven by customer needs and address the increasing choices people now have.
In the UK, we show charges as 'pounds and pence' on workplace pensions annual statements rather than percentages. That way, our customers can see the exact costs easily. Our savings website clearly shows our charges for each product.