Eleven independent governance committees (IGCs) and their UK workplace pension providers are launching a research initiative to develop a common understanding of what members consider to be “value for money”.
The programme is being co-ordinated by UK law firm Sackers.
Under rules introduced last year by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), IGCs - new bodies set up within contract-based pension funds to protect member interests – have to make an objective assessment as to whether pension scheme members are receiving value for money from their workplace personal pension arrangements, and to report on their findings.
Announcing the initiative, Sackers said that after producing their first annual reports this year, the IGCs “want to build on the work carried out last year to investigate further how their members approach the topic of value for money”.
The organisations participating in the research programme are: Aegon, Aviva, Fidelity International, Legal & General, Old Mutual Wealth, Prudential, Royal London, Scottish Widows, Standard Life, Virgin Money and Zurich.
NMG Consulting won the mandate to conduct the research programme.
The findings of the research are intended to help IGCs in their preparation for their second round of annual reports.
Jacqui Reid, associate director at Sackers, is co-ordinating the research programme on behalf of the participants.
She said that although there is agreement about importance of value for money “pinning down the components of it and how you measure them has proved harder”.
“Many of us agree that, although fair charges are important, there is much more to achieving good member outcomes than price,” she said. “IGCs are here to act in the interests of their members. It is therefore vital to enable them to carry out their role effectively that they understand what members themselves, and not just the pensions industry, value.”
A review into the effectiveness of IGCs is scheduled to take place in 2017.