How to engage your membership with GMP

Date posted: 12/04/2019. Author: Nicola Stone

 

Guaranteed Minimum Pensions, or GMPs, don’t have to be a minefield. A well-managed communications strategy can re-focus a process that has the potential to be overwhelmed by administrative procedures and number-crunching by keeping members and their retirement income at the heart of it.

 

How to engage your membership with GMP

The GMP administration marathon facing pension schemes is three-fold: firstly, reconciling members’ records to match those held by HMRC; secondly, rectifying members’ benefits where there are discrepancies with HMRC, and, thirdly, equalising them where there are gender inequalities.

As well as being complex to calculate, GMPs can also be notoriously difficult to explain to members. The thought of having to amend thousands of members’ records and then clarify that their pension benefits have gone up or, worse, down can seem overwhelming, especially when members may not understand what the benefit was in the first place. The potential for members to lose trust is high, especially since the media has already started to focus on the negative side of rectification by highlighting member complaints around historical overpayments. 

Pensions are a sensitive subject for scheme members. So, to keep your communications strategy on track, it’s worth remembering that they are likely to be an individual’s main income in retirement.  Talking to members early in the process is also key.

 

The final stretch

So, what’s the best way to share the news? 
It’s important that all communications are accurate. However, there’s a fine line between telling members the truth and over-complicating the issue. Make sure members know what the impact on their own pension payments will be and keep the general headline messages clear. For example: are overpayments being claimed back? What are the tax implications of an underpayment? 

Think about how members can find out more information:

  • A ‘frequently asked questions’ handout may be enough to help most members.
  • A dedicated phone line would ensure any ‘business as usual’ calls don’t slip through the net and call handlers can be trained to answer specific GMP questions.
  • Keep in mind the membership’s demographic. If social media platforms are available, use them! Brief animations or infographics with headline facts can captivate in a unique way.

You wouldn’t run a marathon without preparing for it first. Similarly, you can’t expect to correct members’ GMP benefits without careful planning.
You’ll need to consider the message you want to deliver and how the membership will receive it, and then design a communications strategy that will educate, engage and encourage them.

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