The Regulator has issued guidance on effective member communications for use by trustees and employers of DC schemes (although many points will be equally relevant in DB schemes). It sets out general principles of good practice in written communications to members and is for use by trustees, managers and employers because "Effective member communication can have a significant impact on financial outcome, particularly in relation to DC pension schemes".
Research by the Regulator had shown that many employers and trustees did not have a communications plan or take any steps to see how successful their communications had been. The guidance emphasises the importance of these considerations and the key messages contained in the guidance include:
- identify your objectives and have a clear communications plan;
- identify the best ways to communicate;
- tailor communications to the audience;
- remember the needs of all groups, not just active members;
- be open and honest;
- avoid jargon; and
- try to get members to engage.
Much of the content could perhaps be regarded as mere common sense. Examples of different types of communication are included. The Regulator recommends challenging advisers or providers of group personal pensions if it appears that a communication may not achieve what it sets out to do.
A separate, but related, publication from the Regulator is an investment guide for members, Making pension fund choices: think before you choose. Trustees and employers can, if they wish, issue this to members of DC schemes to help them understand the fund choices available to them.