Aberdeen Asset Management uses robo-advice to promote awareness of pension changes


Aberdeen Asset Management introduced a robo-advice platform to help employees fully understand the complex pension changes that came into effect on 6 April 2016, specifically the changes to the annual allowance and lifetime allowance for high earners.

The financial services organisation worked with Lemonade Reward to introduce a platform whereby employees could enter their data, such as earnings and pension contributions, and the system worked out what their new allowance and tax bill would be.

Brian Thomson, head of reward and operations at Aberdeen Asset Management, says: “It was built around those changes and we felt that, as an employer, we needed to communicate with people, so we sent out emails across the organisation. We’d kept people up to speed in the run-up as well, in terms of ‘these changes are coming’.”

The online service was complemented with face-to-face seminars and presentations, and employees were also able to ask individual questions of the Lemonade team.

“Even though we are a financial services [organisation], not everybody was fully aware of the changes,” says Thomson. “Some of them are quite complex, especially the annual allowance and the tapering of that. So [employees] were very appreciative of all aspects: the initial communications, the access to the online assessment, and the seminars and face-to-face support.”

Of its 1,500 UK employees, around 400 accessed the robo-advice platform; more than were estimated to be at risk of pension tax charges. Thomson explains that the business reasons behind implementing the platform came down to time, consistency and cost. “We needed something that we could re-use because we don’t think this will be a one-off situation, so something that gives us a strong base to build on and repeat, if we need to, next year,” he explains.