Standard Life and OECD in major pension initiative

Sangita Chawla

Standard Life, part of Phoenix Group, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have announced a major new Joint Research Initiative on pensions.

The three-year deal will be funded by Standard Life and will enable a team of OECD researchers and policy experts on pension issues to explore two of the major challenges facing retirement savers.

The initiative will examine the challenges people face regarding retirement income and a further strand of work will explore how to meet the needs of diverse workforces through analysis on the role that gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic factors play in shaping savings behaviours.

Standard Life chief marketing officer Sangita Chawla has been instrumental in establishing the initiative and will lead the project for Standard Life for the next three years.

The work will form part of the OECD’s Programme of Work on Pensions.

“The first element of the Initiative will examine the challenges associated with achieving financial security in retirement,” said Standard Life.

“By reviewing global thinking, the Initiative will set out to identify innovative retirement income approaches being used elsewhere to meet the needs of individuals and society more broadly.

“The OECD will look for innovative retirement income products and the guarantees provided in different countries to improve certainty of income and reduce the possibility of running out of money.

“It will also assess the advantages and disadvantages of these solutions and the conditions under which they have been used.”

The Initiative will build on insight from Standard Life’s Bringing Retirement into Focus report which found just 57% of women say they are confident making financial decisions compared to 70% of men.

“The OECD will discuss elements of the research findings over the next three years and will publish them in future editions of the OECD’s Pensions Outlook,” said Standard Life.

“Standard Life will use the findings to support clients and policy makers both in the UK and other markets, and ultimately hopes to be able incorporate findings from the Initiative into its proposition development.”

Standard Life CEO Andy Curran said: “The OECD’s combination of international reach and pensions expertise is unrivalled, and we’re excited to embark on this project with them.

“Our aim through the JRI is to foster innovation in the way we meet the diverse needs and wants of savers.

“By incorporating further research on gender, ethnicity, culture and socio-economic factors the OECD will help us shorten the time it takes to enhance our propositions, taking account of the latest international thinking.

“This initiative forms part of Standard Life’s wider commitment to invest in our brand and complements the work I announced last week to close the ‘Guidance Gap’.

“Through investment in market-leading projects like these, Standard Life is determined to help more people live a life of possibilities.”

Pablo Antolin, principal economist at the Private Pension Unit of the OECD, said: “The OECD is delighted to announce the joint research initiative with Standard Life encompassing retirement income and gender, diversity, equality and inclusion issues.

“Both work areas are important to consider not only in the United Kingdom but elsewhere across the globe.

“We argue that to address the main challenges that ageing societies present for retirement, we need to understand the different views and concerns of the different stakeholders in the world of pensions and retirement.

“This joint research initiative brings the views and concerns of a key player to the fore and will help us in our role of providing policy guidelines to policy makers worldwide.”