As part of our series looking at what firms did to win accolades at the UK Pensions Awards 2016, PP speaks to B&CE director of policy and market engagement Darren Philp about how The People's Pension won the DC Master Trust of the Year category.
Video: B&CE director of policy and market engagement Darren Philp
PP: What did you do to win this award?
DP: Bought a lot of people a lot of lunches. Only joking! I think we have a great story to tell at The People’s Pension, and we’re really proud that such a distinguished panel of our peers think so too.
Last year, we launched our new sign up process specifically aimed at small employers, Simply Comply, which can be completed in just three minutes. That’s faster than boiling an egg. We also made sure that our members were able to get hold of their money quickly when the pension freedoms kicked in. Finally, while all of this was going on, we kept delivering high quality support and customer service.
PP: What do you believe sets you apart from your peers?
DP: We believe in putting our members first in everything we do. As a not-for-profit scheme, our values (creating simplicity, showing compassion and keeping promises) are our business.
That’s why, when we introduced our new sign up routes, we knew they had to be consumer focused. So we extended the opening hours at our UK based call centre to make sure that more people were able to speak to someone when they needed to. We know that sometimes a friendly voice can make all the difference.
We’ve also worked with other organisations to try and make data transfers as easy as possible, and we’ve also focused on getting our communications right – getting the Plain Language Commission stamp of approval for two key publications.
PP: What are your plans for the year ahead?
We’re going to continue to put the consumer first in everything we do. And we’re going to continue to innovate. But innovation for us isn’t about innovating for the sake of it, or about winning industry awards; it’s about improving things for our customers.
That’s why we’re continuing to work on our ‘at retirement’ options to make sure they really deliver for our members. We recently did some research with our asset manager, State Street Global Advisers, which told us that people can be utterly befuddled by the choices they have to make.
As an industry, we need defaults that allow people to keep their options open and which take the likely confusion of the saver into account.
PP: How will you build on your success at the UKPA?
DP: We’re already doing it. We’ve enrolled more than two million members now across tens of thousands of employers, making us the largest private sector master trust by a mile.
And we’ve recently achieved the second level of voluntary master trust assurance and published our report with no exceptions or qualifications.
Because of the kind of scheme we are, we can stand up for consumers – so you’ll see a lot more of that over the next year too. From calling for greater master trust regulation to demanding transparency on costs and charges, we’re committed to making pensions better. The sky really is the limit – so we’ll continue to challenge convention and reach for the stars.
Extract from The People's Pension's original UKPA submission
The People's Pension is the largest private sector DC master trust by a considerable margin with nearly 1.7 million members from employers including retailers, charities and football clubs as at October 2015. In 2015, the scheme worked hard to deliver innovation, high levels of performance and good quality customer service.
During the year, The People's Pension launched a simpler and faster sign up process after conducting extensive research among small employers, business advisers and intermediaries. The research revealed that small employers valued high levels of support above anything else. So we designed a sign up process which does everything for the employer, every step of the way, including telling the regulator they have complied at the end of the process – something the small and micro employers were particularly keen to have assistance with.
The culmination of our research was the delivery of two completely new service propositions for prospective customers – Simply Comply and Simply Tailor.
Simply Comply is B&CE's fastest ever sign up route at just three minutes and does exactly what it says on the tin. Simply Tailor is also fast but also offers the opportunity to bespoke scheme set up options.
This makes it perfect for advisers who want to add additional value, or for employers who want more choice. Both journeys deliver everything, each step of the way, to make sure employers meet their obligations.
In addition to this, The People's Pension ensured that members were able to access the new pension freedoms quickly and efficiently through small pot claims and uncrystallised fund pension lump sums (UFPLS) – processing just over 3,000 requests between April and October 2015.
This focus has paid off – and it has achieved a Net Promoter Score of 55.61 from its members, significantly higher than the industry average.