A hard-hitting press and television campaign has been launched today to draw attention to the fact that a surprising number of Islanders are completely in the dark when it comes to their pension and, as a result, have not adequately prepared for their retirement.

The campaign, created on behalf of Spearpoint Retirement Services Limited, is entitled “Are you a victim of Pension Neglect?”, and follows research undertaken to establish the general perception and knowledge level of pensions within the local community. It is designed to encourage pension holders to urgently seek advice on how they can plan for a better future.

The extensive research, carried out independently by Island Ark, shows that 7 out of 10 Islanders don’t know about the pension options available to them, and 50% of those that have a pension don’t know where it is invested.

The survey results substantiate Spearpoint Retirement Services Limited’s view of the current state of the pension market, and the important issues surrounding it.

Meeku Patidar, Managing Director of Spearpoint Retirement Services Limited, explains that the driving force behind the campaign is the alarming set of survey results- along with the backing of organisations such as Age Concern Jersey. The aim is to prompt pension holders to re-engage with their pensions, whoever they choose to do that with. On the strength of the campaign, Mr Patidar had the following to say:

‘It is clear from the survey results that the reality for many people is that they have inadequate pension provision, and retirement is likely to be far from fun. We believe such an important social issue warrants discussion and debate by the public, policy makers and professional advisers, amongst other stakeholders. This is why we’ve produced such a thought-provoking campaign. We believe this is a very serious matter, confirmed by both the consumer research results and by our day-to-day interaction with clients. In order to change the worrying trends emerging from the survey results, we are urging all pension holders to take stock of their current plans and make sure the solution they have in place is the right one for them.’

Survey Results Cause Concern

Pension holders have seemingly been let down by their pension providers. Our survey revealed that the investment performance of many pensions is often viewed as underwhelming, reporting is infrequent, and charges are unclear.

The results of the survey were of no surprise to the organisations that represent Jersey’s elderly population. Daphne Minihane, Chair of both Age Concern Jersey and the Senior Citizens Association, said: ‘We wholly support this campaign, which is highlighting the issue of poor pension provision amongst Islanders, and we at Age Concern Jersey and the Senior Citizens Association will help in any way we can to increase awareness of the issues and help our members (and future members) to take control of their retirement before it’s too late.’

The survey also indicated that nearly a third of respondents had no idea what type of pension they currently hold. Three quarters are unaware of what a Retirement Annuity Trust Scheme is – the new-style pension solution which provides a greater degree of flexibility, control, and transparency than old-style insured pensions.

Perhaps most alarming is that many local people have no idea about the details of their current pension, whether that’s the approximate current value or what they will potentially get when they retire. Nearly half of those surveyed were unaware of the tax-efficiency of contributions, which is one of the last remaining deductible reliefs against income tax.