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Make the right connection with the public

I am writing in response to the article headlined, Solutions to the shortfall (Money Marketing, February 10).

It reports that the industry appears to oppose compulsion staunchly but wants to see the state system reformed.

Winterthur Life has been testing a number of popular initiatives with company group pension schemes which aim to increase the uptake of pensions.

The findings have been interesting in that when a one-to-one consultation is given, take-up is much higher than when a glossy scheme booklet or ad such as posters and direct mailers are used or even when a group presentation is offered.

Some companies have taken up automatic entry into schemes which has resulted in an increase in take-up to around 90 per cent of eligible employees.

This is not directly relevant to individual personal pensions but I think the industry can learn a huge amount from studies of this nature. In particular, far from being a turn-off, if the public is engaged through rele-vant communication tailored to their specific needs, then pensions can be attractive, particularly if tax relief or employee contributions are explained.

A-Day will, of course, raise their profile even further and companies such as Winterthur Life are already starting to educate IFAs, employers/ trustees and employees on the changes that this will bring and how it will affect clients’ individual circumstances.

Compulsion is likely to be a very hard choice for any Gov-ernment to make but we know that when the employer is inv-olved, the magic figure of inc-reasing take-up by 50 per cent starts to look more achievable.

Ian ColquhounHead of strategic partnerships/employee benefits,Winterthur Life,Basingstoke, Hampshire

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