Dutch healthcare scheme PFZW has increased member engagement significantly through carefully fine-tuning its digital annual pension statements.

The €197bn pension fund – the third-largest in Europe – said it had boosted the percentage of participants actually reading their annual statements to 13% of those aged under 42, compared to just 0.5% in 2015.

Of those aged over 55, 45% had read their statement in 2017, against 1.8% two years previously, according to the pension fund.

It added that the appreciation of the statements – known as UPOs – had increased after it introduced a summary of the statement, offering participants additional information on a separate page.

In its opinion, the increased engagement was caused by more direct and less informal language.

“The wording makes a big difference,” said Peter Borgdorff, the pension fund’s director. “We [will] try to fine-tune this further.”

Since 2017, the healthcare scheme has also sent its participants a reminder, in case they had failed to follow up on the initial invitation to view the annual statements. This doubled the response, it said.

PFZW also said that the increased interest in the UPOs also could have been caused by the increased number of participants who had indicated that they wanted to switch from paper to digital statements.

No more than 130,000 of its 1.1m participants receive the UPO on paper.

The pension fund said that its survey had revealed that the new approach had also scored well on its usefulness, clarity and comprehensibility of the pensions statement.