Communicating GMP Equalisation at the early planning stage
6th August, 2020
To paraphrase a literary legend, it is a truth universally acknowledged that pensions is a complicated subject not well understood by members. The more complicated and technical the language gets, the less engaged scheme members are; the less engaged they are with the subject, the harder it gets for trustees to shape member communications that will be read and understood.
With that in mind, trustees should welcome with open arms the new ‘Guide to GMP Communications – Early Planning Stage’, which has been written by the GMP Equalisation Working Group (GMPEWG), a cross-industry organisation chaired by the Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA).
As its title suggests, the Guide is specifically designed for trustees in the early planning stages of GMP Equalisation and aims to support them in communicating the complexities of the subject to scheme members. A second Guidance document will be published later called ‘Guide to GMP Communications – Implementation Stage’.
This initial Guide has four main sections (see below) and includes a written Q&A schemes can use for members, together with a practical checklist.
- Broad principles schemes can follow when planning their communications to members.
A key message (accompanied by do’s, don’ts, and examples to follow) for trustees to note is: “rather than focus on everything we could tell members about GMP Equalisation, think about what they really need or want to know”.
An early question to consider is: “Do you need to say anything at all?”. If you are going to communicate then think about what you want members to know, how you want them to feel and what you want them to do.
The Guide emphasises that trustees should provide support for administrators, as the front line when it comes to member queries.
- Model Questions & Answers members might ask that trustees can use in the first instance.
- A checklist of the communications to members that may need to be reviewed in light of GMP Equalisation, which trustees can use as a starting point. The checklist is broken down into different areas – general scheme information (including booklets and scheme rules), ongoing member communications, and administration and process communications.
- A jargon buster for trustees to use as a guide to help avoid using words and phrases members may find confusing.
PASA “strongly encourage all schemes to use these definitions so that individuals have a consistent experience”.
The Guide is highly recommended for any trustees considering communicating to members around GMP Equalisation. The Guide can be found and freely downloaded at: