Fidelity International has appointed Redington and Quietroom to undertake an independent review to help maximise engagement among its workplace pension members.

Last year, Redington and Quietroom formed a strategic partnership to allow clients to access expertise from the two specialists via a single, integrated proposition.

The two firms are reviewing member communications of Fidelity International along with four other workplace pension providers. Quietroom used its expertise and experience to benchmark the communications against each other and its knowledge of communications in the wider market.

The aim of the project was to identify areas of strength and opportunities to drive improved engagement and better outcomes for end-customers, it was announced.

Bringing Redington’s pensions and investment consultancy together with Quietroom’s communications expertise, the exercise consisted of five core parts:

  • identifying the key member communications that should be reviewed and benchmarked;
  • agreeing a methodology for scoring the communications and a format for displaying the results;
  • reviewing the communications and applying the methodology;
  • presenting the scores to Fidelity International and the other providers to show their relative areas of strength; and
  • sharing examples of best practice amongst the providers and across the industry, as well as areas where improvement is needed.

The long-term vision for the project includes welcoming other pension providers as equal partners with Fidelity International to find new ways of benchmarking communications and member outcomes to boost standards across the industry. Plans for a second iteration of this project have now begun.

Dan Smith, head of workplace investing distribution at Fidelity International, said: “Continually reviewing and improving member communications is of the utmost importance in delivering an exceptional member experience and, as a result of this work, we have been able to identify several opportunities to improve members’ understanding and decision-making ability. This means we can give our clients absolute certainty that we are delivering maximum benefit to both them and their pension members.”

Russell Wright, senior vice-president in Redington’s defined contribution consulting team, added: “This project is a prime example of how pooling our workplace pensions knowledge with Quietroom’s communications know-how can help pension providers continually improve what they offer members.”

AllianzGI supports shareholder resolution on workers’ rights at Starbucks

Allianz Global Investors (AllianzGI) plans to support proposal 8 at Starbucks’ annual general meeting (AGM) on 23 March. The shareholder resolution concerns the issue of human rights – in this case, assessment of workers’ rights commitments to freedom of association and bargaining rights.

Matt Christensen, global head of sustainable and impact investing at AllianzGI, said: “Ahead of the coming annual general meeting of the shareholders of Starbucks Corporation, we plan to cast our proxy vote in support of the shareholder resolution regarding an assessment of workers’ rights commitments at the company.”

He noted that the resolution urges the Starbucks board of directors to commission and oversee an independent, third-party assessment of the company’s adherence to its stated commitment to workers’ freedom of association and collective bargaining rights as contained in the International Labour Organisation’s Core Labour Standards and as explicitly referenced in the company’s Global Human Rights Statement.

Christensen added: “Employee rights are material to the long-term success of companies, especially those such as Starbucks, that are critically dependent on their ability to be attractive to a large number of high-performing employees to deliver quality products and service.”

He said AlianzGI was concerned about the level of controversy reported around these issues because this may have a “long-lasting impact on how the brand is perceived”.

”As long-term shareholders, we have concluded that a third-party assessment is in our interest, to ensure there is no gap between the company’s own commitment and actual practice,” Christensen said.

AllianzGI recently published its annual analysis of how it voted at AGMs in 2022 around the globe, based on its participation in 10,205 shareholder meetings and voting in more than 100,000 shareholder and management proposals.

The firm voted against, withheld or abstained from at least one agenda item at 69% (2021: 68%) of all meetings globally. It opposed 16% of capital-related proposals, 23% of director-related proposals and 43% of remuneration-related proposals globally.

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