Standard Life and Zurich have published their latest independent governance committee (IGC) reports – posting overall green and amber value-for-money assessments respectively.
In his introduction to the annual report for Standard Life's workplace personal pensions, IGC independent chairman David Hare said that, while the IGC believed that Standard Life continued to offer value for money to members, it had some concerns over customer communications and engagement and the application of ESG principles to investment - areas it had ranked as ‘green with a hint of amber' and ‘amber with a hint of green' respectively.
In the report, the IGC said it found that, while statistics of customer satisfaction with communications were strong, there were lower levels of satisfaction from customers that they have the information they need to make decisions on their pension and investments.
It said it was also "disappointed" at a lack of visibility of how ESG considerations impact in-scope members' funds, despite repeated requests from the IGC, but noted this had been countered by the development of group-wide sustainability and responsible Investment initiatives that are starting to address many of its concerns.
Zurich's IGC report noted that, as most of Zurich's modern pensions had moved to Scottish Widows during 2019, it was now largely only focussed on older-style pensions. It noted it had given Zurich an amber rating for value for money, the same as last year.
IGC chairwoman Anna Bradley explained: "It is our opinion that progress has been made this year and Zurich has improved value for money. It also has plans in place to make further improvements. However, progress is slower than we would like. Some improvements currently apply to only a small sub-set of members while Zurich try new things out. In a few cases, we have been disappointed by the length of time it has taken Zurich to respond to some of our challenges. We are looking for a wider and speedier response in the future and have raised this with management."
As DC schemes face increasing pressures to consolidate, David Snowdon says master trusts are the perfect home.
The sponsoring employers of the UK’s largest pension schemes may have to put an additional £40-£45bn into their schemes over the next decade, Lane Clark & Peacock (LCP) warns.
Caroline Kurup explores the latest TPR guidance on superfund transfers and what scheme trustees should be considering
Pension scheme trustees and sponsors should only seek to transfer members’ benefits to a defined benefit (DB) consolidator if there is no “realistic prospect of buyout in the foreseeable future”, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) says.
Guy Opperman says two page, simpler statements as well as an annual ‘season’ in which to issue them could be transformative steps for the UK pensions industry