Aon 2019 Member Options Survey (UK)

Aon’s 2019 Member Options survey gives a snapshot of how sponsors and trustees are deciding on the options to make available to members and what member support should be in place. The survey of over 320 DB schemes, found a clear trend of schemes providing members with more support with their retirement. Continue reading the survey summary below to learn more. 

Sponsors and trustees have an important role to play in deciding what options to make available to members and how much member support should be in place.

Data from 200 Aon pension schemes shows a 7-fold increase in the number of members transferring out of Defined Benefit (DB) schemes since the introduction of improved flexibility in the Defined Contribution (DC) world.

Given this continued trend, our 2019 Member Options Survey looked into the actions being taken by around 320 DB schemes to see what support is being offered to members at retirement and other actions being taken by schemes to increase the range of flexibilities in the DB schemes themselves.

The trend for more support

Comparing the results to our 2018 survey and taking into account planned actions over the next 12–18 months, there is a clear trend for schemes to be providing members with more support with their retirement decisions — almost one in five schemes now include personalised transfer value figures in retirement packs and a similar number of schemes make online tools and / or IFA support available to members alongside the figures to help them make an informed decision. This latter group is expected to increase to almost one-third of schemes over the next 12–18 months.

Barriers to support

When asked about the biggest barrier to providing members with more support at retirement, two thirds of schemes cited administration barriers, including the level of automation of transfer value calculations. However, schemes recognised the need to work with their administrators over time to reduce these barriers to better supporting members.

Around one-third of schemes had trustees who are concerned that providing members with more support at retirement could be seen as encouraging members to transfer against their interests. Members with transfer values of more than £30,000 will need to take financial advice before being able to transfer and, given the trend for increasing numbers of members transferring out of DB schemes, it is arguably more concerning that some of these members are being left to navigate the market themselves to find suitable IFA advice.

Improving flexibility in DB schemes

Given the flexibilities available to members of DC schemes, many schemes are looking at ways to offer members more flexibility at retirement within the DB scheme itself — around 100 schemes in our survey offer members extra flexibility alongside the usual options of a transfer value, a pension and a tax-free cash lump sum.

About Aon

Aon plc (NYSE:AON) is a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions. Our 50,000 colleagues in 120 countries empower results for clients by using proprietary data and analytics to deliver insights that reduce volatility and improve performance. For further information on our capabilities and to learn how we empower results for clients, please visit

© Aon plc 2019. All rights reserved.
The information contained herein and the statements expressed are of a general nature and are not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information and use sources we consider reliable, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.
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Webinar: Providing Options for Members of Defined Benefit Schemes (UK)
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2019 Guide to Member Options: Chapter 1 – Driving Better Member Outcomes (UK)
2019 Guide to Member Options: Chapter 1 – Driving Better Member Outcomes (UK)

In this chapter we look at resources and activities that schemes can implement to drive better member outco...