Effective communication in the pension scheme world is paramount, as how well you get the message across affects the many choices members have to make to ensure they get the best level of pension income when they retire. Innovation in communication is key is ensuring not only the message is transmitted accordingly but in a spirit that encourages people to sit up and take notice. The choice should be fun and easy not dull and dreary. This is a philosophy the Netherlands behemoth ABP, Europe’s largest pension scheme with a value of  €208bn, understands perfectly and its unique MyABP development serves as proof.


“Presenting complex pension matters to participants in a simplified format is not easy,” says ABP, introducing the new service. “In a hardcopy pension statement, the member only sees a single dimension: the effect of their retirement age on their pension. In practice it is often more complex with multiple scenarios developing all at the same time that could affect the choices they have to make. Through MyABP, ABP has developed a service which is unique in Europe and perhaps even in the world. We now communicate from the very heart of our business using the most up-to-date data,” it adds.


MyABP is a personal, secure internet site where members can log on to view their future pension. But such a simple statement does not do the concept justice. Keen to dispense with the dry format paper statements present, ABP has developed MyABP to be an highly interactive and ‘fun’ site where member can do a lot more than view future pensions values.

“It is a site where they can ‘play’ with their pensions using current and up-to-date data,” the scheme explains. “On MyABP, members can simulate various situations and view the effects of their pension-related options. All this makes it more attractive to members, encouraging them to take an active interest in their pensions. And it is easier to make choices. For example, they can choose when they want to retire and calculate the effect their choice will have on their net pension income. And once the decision has been made, the pension can be applied for with the single push of a button,” it adds.


Gaining an insight into future pension is no easy task, not least since you will need to factor in many different assumptions and scenarios to produce as accurate a picture as possible, ABP is aware of this. “Possibly the most  special feature is the fact members can calculate their pensions online,” it argues. “Each month we update information such as salary and working hours. As a result, MyABP is more up-to-date than the last pension statement.”

Furthermore, ABP explains that members can retrieve their details directly from scheme’s central administration database online. “Subsequently, the information is used to calculate in real time pension amounts using the same software as ABP staff uses,” it says. The development works both ways and ABP admits it is having a positive effect on its operations. “Since our members can see what they will get in advance, we can work much more efficiently in our back office, meaning we can offer an improved service that is delivered at reduced costs.”

Rather than dwell on technicalities, ABP is happy to make its IPE Award presentation ‘fun’ as well and has offered a couple of examples outlining how MyABP works in practice.

Example One
John is 46 and married with two children. However, the marriage has not been good for a while now and he is considering a divorce. He wants to know how a divorce would affect his pension and what would happen if he were to die once the divorce were complete.

Until recently, ABP says John would have needed to call ABP to discuss the matter with a pensions expert. After having explained his situation, he would have received a letter outlining the amounts he would receive in benefit and pension income based on a single date that he would have to confirm during the discussions. “But nowadays there is another option. It is quicker and more modern. It is done online via MyABP,” says the scheme.

In MyABP, John can select a fictional divorce date. He can play around with the pension rights allocated to both his (soon to be ex-) partner and himself. “Subsequently, MyABP shows the effects of the divorce on his net pension, both before and after his 65th birthday. At the same time, he can see what effect the divorce will have on any survivor’s pension,” says ABP.

Example Two
ABP says this example underlines how convenient MyABP has made it for members to check their pension position.

Marian is 59 years old and works as a school teacher. She earns €28,000 a year but is considering cutting her working hours. She would like to reduce her working hours by half between the ages of 63 and 65. For the remaining half, she would like to take semi-retirement. However, she only wants to do this if her total income remains at least €20,000 a year during this period.

“MyABP will allow her to input all these factors and work out her pensions position in relation to her working time and retirement and minimum salary requirements during her semi-retired phase,” says ABP.

According to ABP, the key advantages of the innovative MyABP online pensions facility are an insight into all the options available to members and how these affect their pensions. This includes disability allowance and death both before and after retirement. It allows members to play around so they can set their own retirement date and see how much they will get if they retire early. It is also an easy means of applying for a pension with ABP in the first place.

It offers other services such as a full pensions statement online at any time and the pensions accrual for the past seven years. It can show the impact of working abroad and provides a full overview of the pensions and benefits companies ABP uses. It can also show members how much they would earn and take as pension if they took a flexible approach to retiring and continue to work after the state nominal retirement age.