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Article | Pensions Briefing

Are your members taking the path of least resistance when choosing how to take their retirement benefits?

When it comes to retirement benefits, helping members choose what to do is important.

By Melanie Nunn and Michelle Dellow | March 30, 2023

The escalating cost of living, more choice, and a rise in pension scams, means there’s now a more urgent need to ensure members fully understand their options at retirement.
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The predicament

The government has given more flexibilities to members to help them have greater control over their savings and benefits when they retire. But the reality is, many members are unaware of the different ways they can take their pension benefits. Some members have rarely had to make any decisions about their pension, so to be faced with such an important and life-shaping decision could easily overwhelm. This, at best, leads members to take the path of least resistance and at worst, could mean members lose their hard-earned savings through a pension scam.

With the challenging financial climate in the UK, the Pensions Regulator recognises some savers may make hasty decisions about their retirement savings, such as accessing cash from their pension pot to pay for essential bills. Their guidance statement for defined contribution trustees, sets out how schemes should communicate and support savers through this period.

It’s therefore not surprising that improving member experience is a priority for more than 80% of pension schemes1.

How you can help members

The right support at the right time can help members feel in control of their savings, enabling them to make the right choices for their circumstances.

WTW’s Retire Able tools enable employers and trustees to provide this support. They’re designed to help:

  1. 01

    Educate members

    Help members explore and assess their retirement options with content and tools, such as:

    • Seminars and roadshows
    • Printed communications – such as a ‘warm up to retirement’ leaflet, retirement guides and guides to taking financial advice
    • Online education – videos and factsheets that have been member-tested and technically reviewed
    • Retirement Options Tool – allowing members to compare, in pounds and pence, different retirement options side-by-side, including those available outside of their scheme.
  2. 02

    Provide guidance and advice

    Guide members on which options are right for their personal circumstances, including:

    • Individual guidance – a range of options to suit members’ needs
    • Help to select and implement a third party independent financial adviser (IFA) to provide members with financial advice when needed, for example, when transferring defined benefits greater than £30,000 in value.
  3. 03

    Help members select the right retirement solutions

    Once a member has decided how they’d like to take their benefits, Retire Able can also help them assess the best option:

    • Annuity broking

      A whole of market DC annuity broking service, either paid for by the scheme or by the member.

      Members are asked to complete a simple, single page medical and lifestyle questionnaire to identify eligibility for an increased annual income due to health or lifestyle factors.

      They will then be walked through the different types of annuities and the implications of each one.
    • Access to LifeSight, WTW’s self-service drawdown arrangement

      LifeSight’s award winning ageOmeter tool helps members with their financial planning in retirement, warning them when their funds are likely to run out based on their current withdrawal plans. There’s a simple annual charge, no withdrawal or access fees, and for those who wish to purchase an annuity later, there’s access to a whole of market annuity broking service.

      Although not available to members via the open market, trustees and employers can offer members access to LifeSight through Retire Able.
    • Drawdown provider selection

      If you’d like to give your members access to more than one drawdown arrangement, or you would prefer an arrangement other than LifeSight, we can help you with the selection process.

      Our dedicated provider research team carries out ongoing due diligence into all the main pension scheme providers. The team’s knowledge of the market, systems and administration means they are perfectly placed to assess other drawdown arrangements, helping you to choose the arrangement(s) that would suit your members.
    • Introduction of new retirement options

      More defined benefit schemes are implementing further in-scheme options for members at retirement, like a bridging pension and a pension increase exchange.

      Our member options team can help you understand and implement the most appropriate option(s) for your scheme.

We would be delighted to discuss the variety of services Retire Able offers and answer any questions you may have. To request a meeting, please contact your WTW consultant or our team of specialists below.


1. 2022 WTW DC Savings Survey


Melanie Nunn
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Michelle Dellow
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