Smarter Signposting to pensions guidance

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Many people do not seek freely available financial guidance that could help them to understand and make the most of their pensions. Tailored signposting, delivered at key moments, can help to engage people with financial guidance.

How can the Money and Pensions Service help connect people with pensions guidance?

Our ‘Smarter Signposting’ lab pilot explored ways that financial institutions could do this by using their customer data and insight.

Working with Royal London and the Behavioural Insights Team, our pilot used customer transaction data to identify customers who would benefit most from pensions guidance. It went on to test a set of messages informed by behavioural science to engage them, such as “We are looking out for you”, “This is meant for you” and “Act now, not later”.

Key findings

The messages encouraged a small increase in the number of customers taking up guidance, although no significant difference between the three different messages was found. While some customers called the MoneyHelper pensions helpline to gain reassurance on the pension plan they had already put together with their financial adviser, others were in a less stable financial position and sought support to develop a retirement plan.

For these customers, guidance helped to increase their awareness of their current situation, and also helped to connect them with financial advice – which is what they really wanted. The pilot also demonstrated that it is possible to use readily available data to target guidance at customers who need it and that behavioural approaches could be used to induce pension holders to take up pensions guidance.

Examples of user feedback:

"A nudge in the direction that maybe I needed to look into this. If I hadn’t have received a letter, I wouldn’t have made the phone call."

"I turned 50 at the beginning of January. So it was like, oh, yes. Maybe now is the time to check where I am."

"It’s certainly made me think a bit more about the later stages in life: it’s not all about what I’m spending stuff on now."

How to use this research

We hope these findings will be useful for policymakers or financial institutions who are seeking to engage greater numbers of people with financial guidance.

This pilot was a collaboration between Royal London and the Financial Capability Lab, a programme funded and overseen by the Money and Pensions Service and implemented in partnership with the Behavioural Insights Team. The lab is a multi-year programme to develop and test innovative ideas to improve financial wellbeing and demonstrate paths to scale.