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Final Salary pensions: Promoting engagement, education and empowerment

Something a little different from us this week; a guest blog about final salary pensions advice.

We regularly write about the need to engage with consumers by identifying the right message and method of communication. Nowhere is that more important, right now, than when considering Final Salary pensions.

We therefore invited Ian Beestin of Money Alive to explain more about how they are helping advisers and planners engage with consumers.

Over to Ian…

Welcome to The Final Salary Portal!

Thanks to Phil for inviting me to write a guest blog for Yardstick. I have known Phil ever since he started The Yardstick Agency and have followed its progress from its first tweet!

I have enjoyed watching his business grow, as there are several ways in which our thinking is similar. We both seek to help advisers do more business, through first-class content marketing in Yardstick’s case and through the Portal, which enables advisers to give their clients engaging video education, in the case of Money Alive.

A theme that unites Yardstick and Money Alive more than any other is the desire to help advisers achieve engagement. After all, if you don’t engage consumers in the first place, all the work you put in afterward will have no impact. After engagement, helping advisers give their clients a great experience, is the next objective on both our lists.

When we set up Money Alive (which was, quite literally, a conversation between four Yorkshiremen in a pub, with 100+ years in financial services between them) we talked about how we thought the industry could better engage with consumers by building trust through the provision of impartial education. A whole three years later, after much research and consultation (with advisers, regulators, PII insurers, FS lawyers and psychologists). Not to mention the writing, filming, accreditation and IT development… (I could go on). We launched our first product, The Final Salary Portal for Advisers.

Quite simply, the Portal allows advisers to put engaging and impartial client education at the heart of their advice process. In the case of final salary reviews, it lets advisers invite their clients to take an educational video journey covering the key stay in/transfer out facts a client needs to know when reviewing their preserved Final Salary pension.

In this way, client education has very real value. Not only as a way to run a review process more efficiently and treat your customers even better, but as a method for attracting enquiries and underscoring your firms critical brand values of being trustworthy and client centric. However, it needs to be the right quality.

When you undertake a Final Salary review, trust and knowledge are key. After all, if the recommendation is to transfer out, it could well be the biggest financial decision your client ever makes, and it is irreversible.  On the downside, if the client complains about your recommendation in the future and their complaint is upheld, it could also potentially turn into the biggest liability you face as an adviser. This is where our Portal technology, which delivers the educational journey, has real value for advisers. As the client watches a video they are asked to confirm:

  1. That they watched the whole video and
  2. That they understood it

If they answer ‘No’ to question one, the Portal plays the video again and if they answer ‘No’ to question two, a dialogue box opens where the client can simply type in a question or identify an area where they require further clarification. Critically, all the client’s responses and questions are shared, in real time, with the adviser’s Portal admin and can be easily saved in perpetuity through a single ‘click’.

Our commitment to our advisers licensing the Portal is ongoing, we undertake to keep all our educational videos up to date and we also provide sample paragraphs for suitability reports (referring to the Portal journey) and we provide template letters for advisers to use with their clients.

I’ll leave you with some data based on client take-up of the Final Salary Portal video journey (once offered by their adviser).

Executive summary of engagement data at 7/6/18:

  • 89.7%+ of viewers invited via email will login to the Portal*
  • 94.9% of those accessing the Portal for the first time start watching video
  • 92.9% of viewers who watch the first video will go on to complete all 17 videos in the series

*this number will increase as there will be outstanding invitations yet to be acted upon.

And here are a couple of quotes, firstly from a client, secondly from an adviser to give you an idea about the impact the Portal can have:

“I’ve completed all the videos which I found to be very informative. They reinforce the risks of transferring out of the pension scheme and as you know, I’m not a very big risk taker, however, with your guidance I think it’s something I need to seriously consider.”

“After speaking to a potential new client over the phone he was going, “yea, yea, yea…..” and just wanted to look at moving his Defined Benefit scheme. I talked about everything that is detailed in the video and when he viewed it, seemingly what I was saying hit home, he now wants more time to review with his wife. So it works.”

Finally, Rory Percival’s thoughts about providing independent information as part of your process:

“I am sure that the FCA would consider firms providing independent, unbiased information to clients in advance of a first meeting – to help inform and re-set the consumer’s flawed mind-set – as a good practice approach.”

If you’d like to book a demo please visit our website which gives more information on the product. Be sure to put ‘Yardstick’ in the ‘How did you hear about The Final Salary Portal’ field and, if you go on to license the Portal, we will discount the set-up fee by 100%.


Ian Beestin, Marketing Director, Money Alive

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