Nationwide Building Society offers a group personal pension, provided by Aviva, with around 14,000 members, and a defined benefit (DB) scheme with around 5,000 active members that will close to future accrual on 31 March 2021.
Amanda Innes, pensions communications manager, employee pensions, at Nationwide, says: “We’ve worked closely with our staff union to explain the reasons behind the DB plan closure and what this means for affected employees. This involved lots of engagement including UK-wide employee briefings.”
Nationwide has also partnered with Wealth at Work for online and helpdesk support as well as one-to-one guidance sessions. “While this helped affected employees greatly, it also evidenced that many employees needed further support in managing their finances as they approached retirement,” Innes says.
As face-to-face pre-retirement planning seminars and mid-career financial health checks were put on hold during the pandemic, the team took the opportunity to review at-retirement support. A new plan is now being rolled out to provide greater support for employees from their 40s onwards to include webinars and digital support, as well as traditional face-to-face seminars.
“Much of our pre-retirement support pre-Covid was based around classroom-style seminars and although we knew we wanted to make them more accessible, UK wide, we wanted to check the appetite for employees to switch to online webinars during this time,” Innes says. “We then surveyed employees within targeted age ranges and were surprised at the response rate and how much people wanted these. I guess the need for support at retirement has been accelerated by the pandemic and we’ve already moved to webinars, plus we now have much more material online.
“The online webinars have proved very popular, all full within two days of sending the invitations to book on them. We’re currently operating waiting lists while reassuring that more will be organised in the near future, as well as increasing the online educational material we want to make available to all.”