Written evidence from Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management (CHASM), University of Birmingham (APS0052)


This submission provides an overview of the core issues identified by stakeholders of the research project Pension Decision-Making in the New Retirement Landscape: Understanding and improving outcomes for consumers. This project is being carried out by the Centre on Household Assets and Savings Management (CHASM) at the University of Birmingham. CHASM is an interdisciplinary research centre based at the University of Birmingham within the College of Social Sciences. The Centre’s areas of expertise include financial inclusion, financial capability, financial assets, and financial transfers and tax. The project is being funded by the Standard Life Foundation and led by Dr Louise Overton, Director of CHASM.

Pension Decision-Making in the New Retirement Landscape is a qualitative research project designed to understand the decisions people make regarding the decumulation of their defined contribution (DC) pension savings, and the effectiveness of existing consumer protection strategies. The project is currently in the pre-fieldwork phase and, as part of this, a workshop was held with stakeholders from across the pensions industry, third sector, and academia.[1] Participants were asked to identify the key risks and challenges for defined contribution consumers in the current pensions landscape.

This submission is not intended to provide a comprehensive overview of all the issues being faced by DC consumers, nor does each point necessarily represent the views of all participants or their organisations. However, it does provide a snapshot of some of the key challenges relating to pension freedoms which may be useful to the Committee. The project is due to release its full findings in December 2021, and the research team will gladly send a copy to the Committee when it is completed. 

Risks and Challenges for Defined Contribution (DC) Pension Consumers

Related to the above, there are some early indications that Covid may have increased the extent to which DC pension pots are being used to meet urgent family needs, such as intergenerational transfers. More research is needed as to whether this is the case. 















May 2021


Reference List

DWP (2020) Stronger nudge to pensions guidance: statement of policy intent [Online] Available from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/stronger-nudge-to-pensions-guidance-statement-of-policy-intent/stronger-nudge-to-pensions-guidance-statement-of-policy-intent [Accessed 14/04/2021]

Farghly, F., Milward, J., Holt, M., Solomon, P. and Sandbrook, W. (2020) The Stronger Nudge: Evaluation Report [Online] Available from: https://www.bi.team/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/The-Stronger-Nudge-FINAL-1.pdf [Accessed 14/05/2021]

Lindley, D. (2019) Fixing the freedoms: Helping smaller savers get the most out of the pension reforms (Age UK Discussion Paper) [Online] Available from: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/globalassets/age-uk/documents/reports-and-publications/reports-and-briefings/33a.-fixing-the-freedoms---age-uk-discussion-paper-june-2019.pdf [Accessed 14/04/2021]


[1] This included individuals from: The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), Just Group PLC, Ignition House, the Pensions Policy Institute, the University of Leeds, and a range of independent professionals, including an influential financial services consultant, and a consumer advocate and policy expert.