PensionBee Responsible Product Policy

Contents

  1. Background
  2. Meeting the Needs of Our Customers
  3. Financial Inclusion
  4. Responsible Marketing

1. Background

Customers have been at the heart of everything PensionBee does since its inception, and this culture is woven into the fabric of our approach across all departments. Our five company values – Love, Honesty, Quality, Simplicity, and Innovation – provide a framework that guides our decision-making, with particular regard given to how our values shape the way we interact with our customers.

Our strong consumer-focused culture promotes open communication, encourages employees to speak up about potential risks, fosters a sense of accountability and ownership, and motivates employees. Our Culture Code for employees is based around our five key values which are built into our performance management processes.

2. Meeting the Needs of Our Customers

As PensionBee serves the mass market, our customer base contains a diverse range of savers with various personal characteristics and circumstances. Listening to our customers, and to the wider spectrum of UK consumers, is crucial to meeting their needs. One of the main barriers to pension saving is a lack of engagement. This has been historically due to the complexity of pensions and to jargon used by the pension industry, which can lead to poor decision-making.

We offer a small and carefully curated plan range, managed by the world’s biggest investment managers. Our investment philosophy is that plans should be diversified, low-cost, simple, FSCS protected and screened. Our plan range is designed to meet the needs of our target market (mass market UK DC pension consumers) and is annually reviewed by our Investment Committee to ensure it offers excellent value and continues to meet the needs and objectives of our customer base.

Our brand is consumer focused, and unlike many pension providers who reach customers through employers, we attract and serve consumers directly. This provides us opportunities to get to know our customers and to give them excellent, personalised experiences.

As an execution-only service, we have no sales team, no sales commission and no bonuses associated with product sales. Instead, we structure bonuses based on metrics that incentivise collective focus toward helping customers achieve good outcomes over the long term. Bonuses include a Customer Love composite score, which focuses on our app ratings, NPS, Trustpilot scores and complaints ratio.

Every customer who joins PensionBee has a personal “BeeKeeper” who guides them through their transfer process and assists them with every aspect of their journey towards or at retirement. Our BeeKeepers play a critical role in helping customers meet their objectives, by treating them with empathy and acting with skill and care towards them.

PensionBee’s approach to vulnerable customers

We understand that many of our customers are experiencing, or might experience, vulnerabilities at some point in their lives. As part of our commitment to continuously monitoring the social impact of our product and service, we have assessed and reviewed our approach to identify the typical segments of vulnerable customers to ensure all our customers are treated fairly and feel supported.

PensionBee will not grant drawdown access to any customer under 55 years (rising to 57 from 2028) of age unless approved under an ill health claim. This policy protects our customers from tax penalties for withdrawals deemed unauthorised payments by HMRC.

Those who do qualify for an ill health early access claim are supported by a specialist team to provide support to the customer and also conduct thorough due diligence.

Customers who are vulnerable may be more susceptible to the risk of pension transfer scams, or decisions which are not in their interests. PensionBee mitigates these risks by having a robust transfer-out procedure in line with The Pension Transfer Regulations and guidance in The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association’s (PLSA) Combating Pension Scams: A Code of Good Practice.

3. Financial Inclusion

We believe that our product must be built to help people from all backgrounds to save for retirement, including underserved communities that, by definition, do not have adequate access to financial instruments and education. In fact, the UK’s statutory secondary school national curriculum contains little formal financial education, and over the course of their lives, individuals do not all have the same exposure to financial concepts. As a result, many struggle to navigate the pension system as adults.

By designing and building our product in recognition of these realities, we seek to help our customers overcome these educational barriers. For example, our technology platform is designed to make it easy and intuitive for customers to combine their pensions, we offer tools such as pension calculators and retirement forecasting modellers to help customers plan ahead and make suitable contributions, we help savers make on-demand and appropriate withdrawals, and we support all of this with excellent customer service and jargon-free communication.

Product accessibility and training

As part of our commitment to presenting information clearly and ensuring that our website and app are well-designed and accessible for all, our Product design and engineering processes are guided by, and aim to be compliant with, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Our focus on language simplicity and multi-channel communications helps us reach our customers in a way that they understand and at the times that they need support. The Plain English Campaign independently reviews us annually. We’ve achieved the Crystal Mark, it’s seal of excellence for documents. We’ve also achieved their Plain English App Mark, their accreditation for app content and all other non-technical aspects such as functionality, design, accessibility, and audience suitability.

Our Customer Success Team is trained to convey complex financial concepts in a clear way using simple English, and can be accessed via phone, email, and livechat. Following extensive training during the onboarding process of staff members into the Customer Success team, employees also undertake regular ongoing training sessions throughout the year, from refreshers on processes or handling customer communications to our BeeTalk sessions where individuals share learnings and examples of exceptional service. This continued effort ensures that knowledge and quality of service are always at the front of mind for the team.

Customer satisfaction

PensionBee has a number of mechanisms in place to monitor customer satisfaction and validate that we’re meeting the needs of a diverse range of customers. Live feedback automatically appears as a feed in a dedicated intra-office communication tool for everyone in the company to see and understand customer sentiment, what’s working well, and what can be improved. Negative customer experiences are investigated, and remediation is implemented where appropriate, regardless of the channel the customers use to communicate with us. Feedback is also holistically assessed and synthesised in dedicated insights reports circulated regularly to the whole company. We’re committed to constantly listening to our customers and acting on their feedback as we grow.

Customer interviews constitute another crucial element of our work in listening to customers. This face to face approach greatly provides human context to the feedback data we receive via other methods.

Our indicators consistently reflect a high level of consumer satisfaction, with high ratings including a 4.6★ Excellent score on Trustpilot based on >10,000 public reviews, and excellent retention of >95%.

Our proprietary technology has enabled us to develop highly automated systems to help customers realise the benefits of our product quickly and safely. In 2023 96% of calls received by BeeKeepers had an average queue time of 23 seconds and 95% of live chats received had an average queue time of 15 seconds. 72% of all emails received were responded to and completed within 24 hours and 87% in 72 hours. We process the vast majority of contributions within five working days and complete authorised withdrawals and transfers out in ten working days.

Customer resolution and complaints handling

PensionBee’s low complaints rate compared to the industry averages, indicates that we’re meeting customer needs. Complaints are handled by dedicated specialist staff within the Resolution Team. The team works diligently to understand and resolve issues as well as to rebuild trust amongst dissatisfied customers. The team conducts a full and thorough investigation, examining every aspect of dissatisfaction. Customers are subsequently provided with the findings of the investigation to demonstrate that their case was treated with utmost care, as well as our comprehensive conclusion.

4. Responsible Marketing

Our brand is consumer focused, and unlike many pension providers who reach customers through employers, we attract and serve consumers directly. This provides us opportunities to get to know our target market and to give them excellent, personalised experiences.

We attract customers through a mixture of advertising channels, assessed by their effectiveness in reaching our target market. Our press and communication campaigns, including our roadshow and Pension Confident podcast, are the main activities to meet that goal.

We also offer free access to a range of high-quality planning tools, such as our retirement and drawdown calculators to engage savers across the UK. Another method is that we use real customers in our advertising and feature case studies in national media to bring our messaging more to life and to amplify real customer voices in our championing of the rights of consumers. A diverse range of PensionBee customers appear on our homepage, social media channels, our Billboard and TV advertising campaigns, highlighting that pension confidence is for everyone and not just a privileged minority. PensionBee’s customers must be aged 18 or over to use PensionBee’s service, so we don’t market to children.

We use a standard review process for all our content, press, and financial promotions using a two-line risk control system, to ensure that our promotions are suitable, especially if we are communicating with customers identified as vulnerable. This includes advertisements on reputable third-party platforms.

The Company reserves the right to amend this policy at any time

Last edited: 27-06-2024

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