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Making retirement choices clearer

  • New guide to help industry communicate with customers
  • Work conducted by Pension Language Steering Group
  • 7 Principles when communicating on retirement options
  • Hargreaves Lansdown commits to supporting principles

The ABI has today published a guide to communicating retirement options to customers, this is the result of work by the Pension Language Steering Group; you can find a copy of the guide here.

As a leading provider of retirement income solutions to pension investors, Hargreaves Lansdown is committed to supporting and meeting the principles set out in the Guide.

Tom McPhail, Head of retirement policy:

"It is an unfortunate consequence of the sheer weight and complexity of legislation and regulation governing pensions, that communicating with customers both clearly and accurately is always going to be a challenge."

"Like many individual businesses, Hargreaves Lansdown does everything possible to make it as simple as possible for ordinary individuals to engage with their retirement savings and to make good decisions. However it is also important that the pensions industry as a whole uses language clearly and consistently, so that investors don’t find themselves wrestling with conflicting terms or definitions when dealing with different companies. We have contributed to this consultation work and we commit to supporting the principles set out in this new Guide."

The 7 principles of the Guide

  1. Communications with customers regarding the pension freedoms should use pension language that is accessible and that avoids technical or legislative terms. Where such terms are used and are unclear, plain-English explanations should be provided, drawn as far as possible from language based on research. In addition, language should be framed positively to encourage customer engagement.
  2. Communications with customers should use pension language which is proven to be understood by customers.
  3. Any party communicating with customers should be upfront about any tax, fees and/or charges involved with particular retirement decisions, and endeavour to ensure that these are described clearly and simply.
  4. Engagement with customers should seek to instil a sense of responsibility and personal ownership of that customer’s pension and their retirement income options.
  5. All forms of communications should be relevant to the customer and appropriate to the channel, including written communications, online content, calls and face-to-face.
  6. Communications about retirement choices should acknowledge the importance of relevant life events in order to be sensitive to differing customer preferences and circumstances. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to retirement planning and communications with customers should reflect this.
  7. Customers should be signposted to the Government’s free and impartial guidance service, Pension Wise, or to a regulated financial adviser wherever it might assist a customer (in addition to where stipulated by existing legal and regulatory requirements).

The Guide proposes that firms should meet the principles no later than April 2018.


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Hargreaves Lansdown is equipped with a live in-house broadcast camera via the Globelynx network and has an ISDN line available for radio interviews - 0117 934 9006. To arrange an interview with a Hargreaves Lansdown spokesperson please contact the person you wish to speak to directly using the contact details above, or call Globelynx on 0207 963 7060 or email