Nationwide engages employees with all aspects of retirement planning

Nationwide Building Society has just over 18,000 employees working in high street branches and in call centres throughout the UK.

Ian Baines, head of pensions, people and culture at Nationwide, says:“The pension is a key part of our offering. We encourage our 16 million members to save so we want to encourage our own

The vast majority (97%) of employees are members of a contract-based group personal pension (GPP) with Aviva.

The average age of defined contribution (DC) membership is in the 30s, but some are in their 50s and 60s. The GPP is a generous scheme; if an employee pays the core contribution level of 4% they get 13% in addition from Nationwide. Employees are defaulted into the top level of payment and have to take active steps to opt out and pay less; a new twist on the nudging principle.

The employer is also pushing for higher levels of logging on and downloading the Aviva app, MyAviva, which has online tools and projections. In addition, Nationwide provides an e-learning module with a check list to remind employees to log on to their Aviva account, complete their nomination, for example.

Baines says: “Financial awareness and financial education are poor in the UK and that is true of financial services like Nationwide as much as it is in manufacturing firms. [We] can’t assume because people are dealing with ISAs, that they know about pensions.”

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With this in mind, Nationwide offers both seminars pre-retirement at 55 and mid-career. Of its 18,000 employees 13,000 have been working from home in the pandemic. Last year it replaced all its physical seminars with webinars some with Aviva and some with Wealth at work, often bespoke.

All Nationwide GPP members with Aviva receive the full range of pension freedom options, drawdown, possibility of transfer, 25% tax-free cash and the investment pathways.