Why missing one episode of Strictly Come Dancing could be the best decision a scheme member could ever make.

I have just read yet another article predicting that the next great financial scandal will be final salary pension transfers. There are potentially tens of thousands of people in the near and distant future whose pension freedoms could turn into pension fiascos, leaving them sorely regretting their decisions to grab their CETVs and complaining (many with justification) that they wished they had been better informed before they had jumped.

Money Alive’s founding objective was to engage, educate and empower people to make better financial decisions. We have recently been addressing this potential future transfer scandal with the development of our ‘Final Salary Portal’.

Quite simply, the portal’s combination of media and technology allows advisers and trustees to give scheme members impartial, engaging and accredited video education about critical stay in/transfer out facts before they make an irreversible decision. The member accesses the videos through their own unique view of the portal which asks questions and records their answers as they navigate their video journey to becoming better informed. For example, at the end of each video users are asked to confirm if they have watched the whole video and whether they understood it. If they answer ‘No’ they can replay and they have the option to type a question which is shared, in real time, with the adviser’s/trustee’s dashboard.

The web based combination of media and user audit trail becomes a very powerful (and scalable) educational tool, particularly valuable as volumes of enquiries regarding transfers are predicted to grow rapidly as CETVs gain prominence on annual benefit statements. It can help trustees to make sure their members are well informed – empowered by knowledge to make a better decision. It can also help advisers demonstrate the provision of professional, accredited client education as part of their final salary review and advice process (with potential PII advantages).

Like our pension freedoms site, The Final Salary Portal video scripts have been written by pension expert Mark Thewlis, (a CII accredited trainer who trains advisers to achieve chartered status). We also have had input from a PII insurer and a specialist financial services litigation lawyer.  Furthermore, all the educational material within the portal is accredited by the Pensions Management Institute. We have endeavoured to use language and user experience to encourage viewing and have avoided jargon throughout. The journey starts with a pithy summary video, concludes with case studies and we use a variety of filming styles, video lengths and voices to help keep users engaged. Users can replay the videos as many times as they like and it is easy for them to pick up where they have left off, so they can take the journey comfortably and at their own pace. Users can collect tokens as they progress that both incentivise and underscore where they are in the journey. The portal has also been designed to be straightofroward and intuitive to use – both for the adviser/trustee to set up and monitor and the member to use.

So, what has all this got to do with Strictly Come Dancing I hear you ask? Well, watched back to back The Final Salary Portal’s 17 videos come to just 1 hr and 12 mins – 18 minutes shorter than just one episode of Strictly. So, missing an episode, in order to better inform yourself ahead of an enormous financial decision, in our opinion is an extremely worthwhile sacrifice. Of course, using technology, it would also be easy for a potential transferee to either record Strictly or use iPlayer’s on demand facility – so they can still enjoy their rhumba as well as their retirement.

If you’re interested in communicating with your employees about any preserved final salary benefits they may have or have members who are actively considering a transfer please contact the Love Your Employees Team to find out how we can help

(This article originally appeared in the PMI’s ‘Pension Aspects’ in Feb 2018)

Author: Ian Beestin, Moneyalive

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