Wiltshire Pension Fund recognises the importance of engaging with its future pensioners to better understand their expectations, preferences, and priorities regarding their pensions and how it is invested, whilst also keeping them well informed of their benefits. As part of our commitment to transparency, responsible investment, and meeting the evolving needs of our members, we initiated the "Wiltshire Pension Fund Youth Engagement Project". This project was derived with inclusivity in mind, and aims to bridge the generational gap, improve our services, and align our communications with the values and concerns of the younger generation.
Why we initiated the project
As we are an open scheme we have a constant influx of new joiners, therefore we need to be mindful of how we keep our members well-informed about their pension benefits and our investment rationale. We are aware that young people are typically less likely to engage with their pension, it's benefits along with the role and impact of responsible investments. As a Fund we want to engage with all our members about their LGPS pensions , ensuring there are appropriate materials and support for them through their pension journey with us.
Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues have gained prominence in recent years. Information on how younger members view the importance of these issues can form a valuable part of our decision-making process and help guide our communication efforts.
We are committed to maintaining transparency in our operations and ensuring accountability to our beneficiaries. Engaging with our younger members demonstrates our commitment to inclusivity and responsiveness to their evolving needs.
We identified a target audience as those aged 30 and below, engaging with them through a survey to identify trends and preferences among younger members.
- How can we enhance the understanding of pension benefits and financial literacy
- How can we better communicate The Fund's investment rationale
- Determine communication preferences
- Identify ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) preferences of our younger members
- Ensure representation of the younger generation
- Exploration of hosting a round-table event for better dialogue
- 100% agreed pensions are of some level of importance
- 82% of younger members wanted to understand their pension benefits
- 64% see diversity and inclusion as the most important investment themes, closely followed by other social issues
- As 72%of the population surveyed preferred to receive information through online web posts
Integration of feedback:
Out of the 1166 members we contacted, 46 responded (4%), representing an increase in engagement from this demographic compared to a survey of all members which was carried out in 2021. Whilst the responses were not at the levels we were hoping for, the act of carrying out the survey was a good piece of engagement in itself, by helping to increase the awareness of younger members regarding pensions. Insights gained from the responses we received will help us better understand the views and needs of our younger members - ultimately improving our service delivery.
Following feedback received we will be developing a short pensions 101 video which could be used by employers as part of induction materials for new members of staff to explain the benefits of LGPS membership, and pre-empt key practical questions. More online articles will also be published demonstrating our existing engagement with the top identified responsible investment themes including diversity and inclusion, health, labour practices, education and affordable housing. We also anticipate hosting a one-off Focus Group in 2024 to improve our engagement with new and younger members of our scheme.
In conclusion, Wiltshire Pension Fund's Youth Engagement initiative is driven by a commitment to understanding and meeting the expectations of our younger members. By initiating this project, we aim to create a more inclusive, responsive, and future-oriented pension fund that aligns with the values and priorities our members.