UK – Only a quarter of working age adults in the UK have heard of stakeholder pensions, – despite the fact that they are to be launched in April, according to a report published by the Department of Social Security (DSS).

The report, based on interviews with almost 1700 adults using the National Statistics Omnibus survey of March 2000 says just 29% of the target group for the new legislation were aware of its forthcoming existence.

Commenting on the figure, the DSS says: “ This can be seen as a baseline figure for awareness, a year before they became available to the public.”

Nevertheless, around two fifths of target group respondents said they were very/fairly likely to take out a stakeholder pension, while 14% said that they needed more information.

Stakeholder pensions will be aimed at moderate earners of between £10,000 and £20,000 a year who cannot join an occupational scheme.

The survey also highlights the fact that seven in ten working age respondents said they had given at least “some thought” to their income in retirement.
However, almost half had no more than a “patchy” knowledge of pensions.

According to the survey UK public opinion is divided on who should be mainly responsible for retirement income: 42% thought it should be the government and 50% thought it should be the individual or their family. Only four per cent thought employers should provide for pensions. Those in a better position to provide for themselves were more likely to think the individual should be responsible.

In a bid to flag up the introduction of stakeholder, the government has launched a £6.5m (e10.2m) marketing campaign, featuring talking dogs, to get people to think about planning for their pension.

“ These adverts are humorous and clever and the use of real-life working dogs talking should grab people’s attention and get them thinking about the options to save for their retirement,” says Alistair Darling, the British secretary of social security.

The campaign, including TV, press and cinema advertising, is designed to appeal both to young people in their twenties and those closer to retirement, the government says.