Stress-testing defaults: what happens to pension auto enrolment during a crisis?

  • Date: Thursday 13 May 2021 | 2-2:45pm (BST)
  • Location: Virtual – GoToWebinar

Join us for this live online event where we’ll share findings from the initial stages of our research programme, and discuss what these learnings may tell us about the resilience of the UK’s retirement system and implications for long-term financial security.

Since the initial shock of the Covid-19 pandemic, Nest Insight has been examining how the crisis is affecting those saving with Nest, who tend to be on low to moderate incomes. We’ve been looking at this important question through a number of lenses, working with Nest’s administrative dataset, covering the jobs and pension savings of over nine million workers at nearly 900,000 UK employers, to find out:

  • Have any specific groups of workers been more negatively affected than others?
  • Have there been any changes in pension saving behaviours?
  • Has the crisis changed people’s views on the importance of saving for emergencies?

To conduct this analysis, we’ve been working with John Gathergood and Jesal D. Sheth of the University of Nottingham, and with Neil Stewart and Chris Firth of Warwick Business School. This collaboration was made possible by a Covid-19 Rapid Response ESRC Grant from UK Research & Innovation and also by the ongoing support of BlackRock, the Money and Pensions Service and JPMorgan Chase, which created the post-doctoral position as part of our wider programme of research into emergency savings and debt.


  • Matthew Blakstad, Analysis Director at Nest Insight
  • Jesal D. Sheth, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham
  • Professor John Gathergood, from the University of Nottingham

Sign up to the event to learn more and join the conversation: Register here.

Past events

Autumn 2020 events

In autumn 2020, we held a number of online events to share and discuss the latest research findings from our sidecar savings trial, our programme of work on pension engagement, and our analysis into the impact of Covid-19 on self-employed people’s savings attitudes and behaviours. If you missed any of these events, you can watch all of the recordings here.

Find out more

Nest Insight online: summer 2020

In summer 2020, we held a series of online events to share knowledge, spark debate and focus on the way forward to support those most financially impacted by Covid-19. If you missed these events, you can watch the recordings here online.

Find out more

UK Pension Reforms (1997 – 2015) research launch

On the 5th February 2020, we held an event with the University of Bath and the Institute for Policy Research (IPR) to launch our new research into why and how the UK Pension Reforms (1997 – 2015) were successfully implemented. Our project brought together the previously private recollections of key actors in the establishment and delivery of the reforms and shared them through a ground-breaking series of video interviews and a new report.

Find out more

DC Program 2019

In June 2019, Nest Insight partnered with the International Centre for Pension Management (ICPM) and the Aspen Institute Financial Security Program (FSP) to deliver a two-day conference in Vancouver, Canada, bringing together leading experts from around the world to exchange knowledge and ideas on the major issues facing savers and best practice in responding to those issues.

Find out more

Nest Insight 2019

Our fourth annual Nest Insight conference brought together academics, policy makers and industry to dig beneath the headline data and explore how auto enrolment has affected people’s savings behaviours and wider financial lives, while questioning what lessons can be learned from comparable models around the world.

Find out more

Sidecar savings trial launch event

On Monday 12 November 2018, we officially launched our sidecar savings trial and announced which organisations are taking part in the research.

Find out more

Nest Insight 2018

Nest Insight’s annual conference 2018 brought together academics, policy makers and pension experts to explore the future challenges for the pensions industry and identify solutions that can be tested.

Find out more

Nest Insight 2017

The Nest Insight 2017 annual conference moved beyond the headlines to explore what longevity means for the ‘defined contribution generation’.

Find out more