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Co-op warning on stake ads

The Co-operative Insurance Society is warning that the Government&#39s £5m

stakeholder ad campaign will be a waste of money if it is not backed up

with education.

The life office fears a one- dimensional ad campaign for the pension

scheme, backed up only by decision trees, will send a half-cocked message

to an already confused public.

CIS says the hardest hit will be smaller companies, their employees and

individuals.

CIS wants to see the Government take its campaign beyond simple brand

awareness and educate the public about the product itself.

A spokesman says it is simply not enough to say stakeholder will be

available from April 2001 as the public needs to know how the product

works.

CIS warns that the campaign could become little more than a £5m token gesture.

The society wants the Government to produce generic advice leaflets and

guides rather than it being left to providers and information being tainted

by provider bias.

The logical body to take this task on is the Personal Finance Education

Group, according to Co-operative.

The society is also concerned by how few smaller companies are intending

to promote stakeholder to their employees following research into investor

attitudes.

It says a photocopied sheet on a company noticeboard coupled with a

decision tree is unlikely to motivate staff to commit to a long-term sav-

ings vehicle.

CIS marketing general man- ager Martin Clarke says: “Awareness of

stakeholder pensions alone will not be enough. Action must be taken to

build a real enthusiasm for the scheme.”

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