I was recently chatting to some industry people about member outcomes in pensions and, in particular, how engagement could drive up contributions to a sensible level. After a short while, inevitably, we came to the subject of engaging with members.
“The problem,” one of the group said, “is that 85% of the members won’t engage with us.”
Sorry? Did I hear that right? “They won’t engage with us.” Yep, I heard correctly.
What other industry fails in its mission and explains this failure by their consumers failing to engage with them? “Our cream bun company failed because our customers refused to buy them.” “Our super new electric car wasn’t a success because drivers refused to buy them.”
There is absolutely no doubt that there is, somewhere in the population, a hard core of people who are refusing to engage with their pensions: the refuseniks, if you like. At 85% non-engagement, however, I think we are a long way from having found them.
People do not engage with pensions and pension saving because it is complex, there is a lack of trust in the industry and, ultimately, it is about delayed gratification. It is our job to make the message less complex, to build trust (through behaving properly) and to make people feel good about saving.
Lack of engagement is not the members’ fault, it is ours.