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Prudential reveals UK workers in state of pension inertia


New research from Prudential shows that nearly a third (30%) of Britain’s 8.8 million active occupational pension scheme members* pay no attention to how their retirement savings are invested and 29% – more than 2.5 million scheme members – have never reviewed how their chosen pension fund is performing.

The pension provider’s study** also shows that 48% of workers aged 25+ have their money invested in the ’default’ fund of their company pension scheme.

Pension savers are failing to take an active role in managing their assets to produce the best possible retirement income. Around 29% admit they have never reviewed the progress of their selected pension funds.

Prudential warns that workers who do not regularly review the progress of their pension fund to deliver asset growth, or simply select the default fund offered by their employer without studying any other options available to them or seeking advice, could then risk limiting the value of their pension pot at retirement.

Andy Brown, director of investment funds at Prudential, said: "It’s worrying that so many people who pay into a company pension scheme appear to be in this state of inertia and aren’t taking an active role in the management of their pension savings.

“You routinely check your savings, utilities, insurance cover, mobile phone contract and broadband arrangements to make sure you’re getting the best from them, and checking the performance of your pension should be no different.”

Prudential urges workers who have not reviewed their pension investments, especially during the stock market turbulence of the past two years, to review them now as a priority to ensure they are correctly positioned to take advantage of any market upturn.

Many pension scheme members are doing virtually nothing to ensure their pension funds are invested in the best place to maximise growth and maintain the right balance to protect fund values in the last few years before retirement.

Only 20% of defined contribution pension scheme members say they took an active role in selecting the funds in which their pension is invested from a range of funds offered by their workplace pension scheme. A further 37% say they have never taken any other action with their pension fund such as seeking independent financial advice, talking to their employer or making additional voluntary contributions.

Andy Brown continued: "If you’re an employee paying into a pension scheme, you have taken the first important step towards building up a fund to provide you with an income in retirement but you stand a greater chance of maximising its value if you review your fund arrangements regularly.

“If you’ve chosen the ’default’ option, it should be because it best suits your needs and not because you don’t understand or aren’t interested in finding out what else is available.”

When it comes to paying more money into company pension schemes, Prudential’s research found that 37% of people with a defined contribution pension have either made Additional Voluntary Contributions to their pension fund or increased the amount they pay in.


Notes to editors
* Source: Occupational Pension Schemes Survey, ONS, 2007 (latest figures available)
** Survey conducted by Research Plus from 2 to 7 July 2009 among 1,298 UK adults aged 25+ who have not retired using an online methodology

About Prudential
“Prudential” is a trading name of The Prudential Assurance Company Limited, which is registered in England and Wales. This name is also used by other companies within the Prudential Group, which between them provide a range of financial products including life assurance, equity release, annuities (including an income drawdown option), savings and investment products like the unit trust and tools, such as the tax calculator. Registered Office at Laurence Pountney Hill, London EC4R 0HH. Registered number 15454.

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