Pension communication is becoming increasingly important due to the new pensions system. Pension insurers, pension advisors, pension funds and PPIs are doing a lot to involve participants in their retirement provision. Various organisations that succeed in achieving this goal are being interviewed in a series on AMweb. In the third episode, Jan Hein Rhebergen of BeFrank shares his thoughts.
BeFrank is known for making pensions simple and understandable. Explain how you manage to do that.
‘It’s really the combination of online and offline. We are an online provider, but we have found that offline – on location – works very well. Preferably just after the scheme has gone live. We do activation actions with the employer. We put a big blue threshold in front of the door, right in the middle, and we invite people to cross the threshold of retirement. We stand behind that threshold and help with activating, logging in, and creating a link with the Pension Register; we see that people are incredibly happy with this. That very difficult pension that was so far away and complex is suddenly on your phone and easy to see and follow. We also do a lot of target group presentations: the presentation for young people is very different from the one for people who are about to retire. Road to retirement attracts different people than one about building a sustainable future, which is more about how you want to invest.’
And what do you do online in terms of communication?
‘Each participant receives advance notice and a personal welcome video. Headline: You may not think you have influence, but you do. You can make choices. Log in and have a look. We have a good conversion rate on this, partly because people have more time due to Covid. You won’t get a general talk, but instead a presentation tailored to your scheme. So, if you don’t have ANW (Surviving Dependant’s Act benefit), for example, it’s not going to be part of the presentation.’
Who are you targeting with these communications?
‘When we want to get people involved in the pension scheme, we’re talking about the participants. Employers are very important, however. After all, they invest a lot in the pension employee benefit. We put the employer in charge. For example, the employer’s report indicates the percentage that has been activated. But also which target groups are ahead and which are lagging behind. And which presentations have had an effect on login behaviour. To get employers involved in the pension employee benefit, it’s important that they can see what is happening and can make adjustments by, say, targeting people over 50 or targeting young people.’
Can you indicate what the results are?
‘Our standard is 80% who have logged in and activated and therefore know what their situation is. That’s not the market norm, but it is the norm we are setting. That is 76% for our entire portfolio during our 10-year history. There are companies that are already at 90% within a year. We only stop when we’re finished. We tell customers what we’re going to do and we make sure it happens. We make a wager with the Works Council, the employer, the advisor and with ourselves. And we also celebrate when it has been achieved. For example, we take an ice cream truck to an organisation to celebrate that success. In the ice cream queue, the conversation then turns again to retirement.’
What are the next steps you will take to involve even more people in their pensions?
‘Activation is the first step you have to take. You also want participants to feel confident to influence their pension, to take control. We are investigating the benefits of peer-to-peer with data across the entire portfolio. We’ve done a pilot with extra premium contributions (additional savings). For example, people contribute an amount of extra premium on average, and what does that do to engagement, activation and satisfaction. The results are very good because everyone likes to know exactly where they stand.’
What tip(s) do you have for advisors who communicate with participants about their pension?
‘There are increasingly more cool initiatives in the market, but the main thing is that everything happens in consultation with the participant or the employer. What you often see is that we have the tendency to make things too difficult. Pension is just salary for when you are no longer working. It is your pot, your money. Bring it back to everyday things: so many groceries, so much bread. Make it small and accessible. And you have to constantly tweak things to arrive at something that works better.’
This article appeared on AMweb on 25 January 2022.