The Pensions Administration Standards Association’s (PASA) benefit statements working group has published its first analysis looking at the opportunities and concerns around delivering a pension ‘statement season’.
In its analysis, the PASA working group found that, while there were clear benefits to the government's ambition for all schemes used for auto-enrolment to send out their annual benefit statements within a time-limited window, there would also be ‘resource and cost challenges' involved in trying to achieve it and some areas may need ‘careful consideration' to evaluate the ultimate value to members.
PASA board director Girish Menezes, who also sits on the pensions minister's statement season working group, explained: "Consistent messaging around pension savings is imperative and the introduction of a statement season could be a really useful way of engaging and capturing people's interest. Most will end up with several pension pots over their working life.
"Having access to core information across all these pots, at the same time each year, would allow them to compare their arrangements and take a holistic view - empowering them to make better informed saving and retirement choices."
He added: "As with most things, however, there will be some resource and cost challenges involved with trying to achieve this in a streamlined and synchronised fashion, we have considered these in our paper to come to some sensible conclusions."
PASA benefit statements working group chair and Sackers partner Helen Ball agreed: "We support the concept of a statement season and believe the potential benefits are clear. However, the idea of common publication and valuation dates need careful consideration.
"A common valuation date would be unnecessarily cumbersome and not deliver much in the way of ultimate benefit. It's important for a statement season to work alongside technological enhancements, such as dashboards, to ensure longevity."
Ball continued: "Access solutions - such as web, post, email - also need careful review. Ultimately, if all of the information is available online throughout the year, the requirement of a statement season naturally falls away over time and any related legislation should take this into account at the outset."
The full paper can be found here.