This week we launch NEST Insight: a new unit within NEST Corporation that will work with leading research organisations to understand and tackle the challenges facing the ‘DC generation’ – people whose supplementary retirement income depends on saving in a defined contribution pension.
We’re kicking off the NEST Insight Unit programme with a two-day conference called ‘How much is enough?’, bringing together senior policy makers, academics and financial service professionals to discuss and debate how to get people saving enough for a comfortable retirement.
The launch of NEST Insight is an opportunity to reflect on the automatic enrolment journey. With the support of stakeholders; international, industry and individual, the auto enrolment programme has already picked up more than 6 million people, and as we look to the future, there’ll be many more joining on this journey – people who otherwise, would not be saving for their retirement. Without the programme, they would have no pension in place, no employer contributions, and no tax benefits.
Whenever we talk about automatic enrolment, we frame it as a journey. At NEST especially, we talk about how we’re on this journey; that automatic enrolment is part of a process.
However, we try to remember that though auto enrolment been a success so far, we’re a long way from our final destination. This is the focus of the NEST Insight conference: not how we have come from a world with chronically low levels of saving participation, but how we can encourage a new generation of savers to achieve the best retirement they can.
NEST has the futures of over 3 million savers to think about: three million people that represent a large proportion of new savers, brought into pensions through auto enrolment. These people represent the new normal of UK pension saving and yet, they are under researched, not well understood, and under-represented. The introduction of automatic enrolment – and the challenges it poses – means we need to think smart and we need to think differently.
That is the aim of the NEST Insight Unit: to help us plot a course beyond a world of inert savers and minimum contributions, not just for NEST members but for all DC Generation savers. It will do this by building a body of research and evidence about a group of people who traditionally have been under researched. And that will be augmented by testing what works practically in the real world.
We are optimistic. The pension reforms we have overseen in the UK will be historically important: they will change our culture and the way we view later lives, and they will make a massive positive impact on the lives of generations of people in years to come. This is why I’m excited to launch NEST Insight as a step forward towards our journey’s end. Because the journey will only be worthwhile if we reach our destination’s end.
Helen Dean, Chief Executive Officer, NEST Corporation