Sign for change | PLSA
Sign for change

Sign for change

16 February 2024

Signatories of the PLSA’s Better Pensions Charter explain how its proposals will influence their strategies over the next year

Hetty Hughes, Manager, Long-Term Savings, Association of British Insurers (ABI)

Hetty Hughes

Why did the ABI commit to the Better Pensions Charter? 

To help everyone save for their future and enjoy the best possible retirement, it’s important to have a long-term strategy built on consensus. When investing for the long term it’s important that savers and those who are the custodians of their investments have certainty on the future policy direction so that they can effectively plan. The Better Pensions Charter sets out what’s needed to secure a good standard of living for all in retirement and we’re pleased to be a signatory to help collectively drive forward further change.   

How will the Charter influence your policies over the next year?

We have long advocated for the pensions policy reforms which would meet the outcomes envisioned under the Charter. Much of our work has looked to address the UK’s under-saving crisis and to help the UK’s ageing society to thrive in retirement. The Charter speaks to our existing work in these areas. Whether this be through our Pension Attention campaign, or increasing the evidence base on how best to support customers to make important retirement decisions, we stand ready to work with government and other signatories to help reach the goals of the Charter.

Tim Middleton

Tim Middleton, Director of Policy and External Affairs, Pensions Management Institute (PMI)

What are the most important points within the Charter from the PMI’s perspective?

For us, the most important points within the Charter are:

  • Ensuring that the interface between state and private provision remains effective
  • Identifying key areas for improvement, such as providing effective coverage for the self-employed and those working within the gig economy
  • Making the case for higher rates of contribution in a sector where private sector provision is now dominated by defined contribution (DC) arrangements
  • Helping DC members through the hazards of decumulation.

How will the Charter influence your policies over the next year?

The Charter will help us focus on those areas of policy that will require the greatest emphasis. In a year which is going to see a General Election, it is inevitable that the government will put less emphasis on developing pension policy. If the PMI, along with the rest of the industry, is able to unite around the Charter, we will be able to maintain momentum through the rest of this year.

Samantha O’Sullivan – Policy Lead, Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP)

Samantha O’Sullivan

Why did the CIPP decide to commit to the Better Pensions Charter?

As the professional body for payroll professionals acting on the behalf of employers throughout the UK, it’s key to educate people on the benefits of saving into their pensions, but it’s also currently about getting the balance right. Amid a cost-of-living crisis, many people are focusing on making it through each month, which could arguably be more important to them right now than investing in their futures and ensuring a comfortable retirement.

What are the most important points within the Charter from the CIPP’s perspective?

The Charter looks specifically at getting more people saving into workplace pensions, and this is something the CIPP supports entirely. The Charter, alongside The Pensions (Extension of Automatic Enrolment) (No. 2) Bill gaining Royal Assent, will ensure younger workers, gig economy workers, multiple job holders and low earners will be able to save for their retirement. The CIPP does however understand the implications for employers, and will be working alongside members and policymakers to ensure all views are considered and fed back through future consultations, prior to implementation of new legislation.

Charles Cotton

Charles Cotton, Senior Reward Adviser, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD)

Why did the CIPD decide to commit to the Better Pensions Charter?

The CIPD recognises the important role pensions play in the workplace, such as a recruitment or retention tool, a key part of improving employee financial wellbeing, or supporting the organisation’s culture. As well as good workplace pensions, we also want to see good state pensions, because together they play a vital role in helping people enjoy their retirement. We also want to see action to improve the situation of those who often find it hard to build up an adequate pension, such as low earners, multiple job holders, women, and ethnic minority groups.

What are the most important points within the Charter from the CIPD’s perspective?

From our perspective, it’s the creation of a national pensions strategy that’s adequate, fair, and affordable. This strategy will allow employers, the government and the pensions industry to assess how near we are to achieving these objectives and what steps we might then need to take. Pensions can be a source of conflict; we have seen industrial action about workplace pensions and arguments about the affordability of the state pension. Having a consensus about the objectives for the UK pension system should help to reduce these tensions.

Stephen Budge, Partner in LCP’s DC team

Stephen Budge

Why did LCP decide to commit to the Better Pensions Charter?

Because we support the ultimate goal of the Charter: ‘to enable the UK’s ageing society to thrive in retirement’. This objective is fundamental to the support we give our clients on a day-to-day basis to help them improve outcomes for their members. It’s also key to our wider engagement in industry and government initiatives across the sector, like the Productive Finance Working Group. The beauty of the Charter is that it sets out a series of clear and measurable deliverables that can be used to hold policymakers and the broader industry accountable – and, as a result, it’s a valuable tool that can help raise standards across the board.

What are the most important points within the Charter from LCP’s perspective?

The overall ambition to make the UK pension system adequate, fair, and affordable is essential to ensure that it can deliver outcomes that enable members to thrive in retirement. Within this, the Charter’s focus on creating solutions for traditionally under-pensioned groups is a particularly important feature, given the wide disparities we see across the market (e.g. the gender pensions gap). We welcome the fact that the Charter recognises the essential link between short-term financial wellbeing and better retirement outcomes, as financial difficulties pre-retirement are all too often the driver of poor outcomes in retirement, particularly for under-pensioned groups.

Kim Gubler

Kim Gubler – Chair, Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA)

What are the most important points within the Charter from PASA’s perspective?

Being the window to any pension scheme, administrators are the first point of contact for any scheme member or pension saver. We feel administrators are best suited to support how people are communicated with and guided along their pensions journey. Layers of historical complexity have made this job harder for everyone involved. In all PASA’s responses to consultations we’ve urged government to think about how new policies can be executed to enable people to better understand what’s available to them, and so make better decisions.

How will the Charter influence your policies over the next year?

Designing policies that are simple to communicate and execute is vital to build the trust people need in the pension system. We’ll continue to engage with government and the DWP to ensure administrators can deliver on the promises the pension system makes. In particular, we are keen for government to articulate more clarity over the difference between advice and guidance, allowing administrators to remain the ideal conduit to deliver guidance to people when they most need it.

Read the Better Pensions Charter here