Pensions Risk & Compliance

AFM: Communication plan WTP must be more concrete

Date:May 7, 2024

The quality of pension funds’ the Wtp communication plans still leaves room for improvement, AFM says. The core of the feedback: the plans must be more detailed and specific. A challenge in which considerable steps still need to be taken. Projective Group recognises this and sees the solution in thinking from the participant perspective. In this article, we provide 7 tips to improve the communication plan.

The Wtp communication plan

The communication plan is a required part of the Wtp (Future Pensions Act) implementation plan. The purpose of this communication plan is to make it clear to (former) participants and pensioners how the transition will affect their pensions. Indeed, the new ‘duty of care’ standard of choice guidance requires pension funds to help participants make choices that match their needs and objectives. This can only be done with good understanding about the new pension scheme.

The communication plan will include the fund’s characteristics, target groups, goals and how, when, what will be communicated to whom about the introduction of the new pension scheme. As the communication plan covers a longer period, it is important to include periodic evaluation and measuring moments so that adjustments can be made. Ultimately, this plan should be submitted to the AFM.

Guidance AFM

In 2023, the AFM prepared a guideline containing clear guidance on the communication plan. Based on this guidance, it is easy to determine what expectations the AFM has about the communication plan. In addition, the AFM recently published sample feedback on the communication plan. This contains the most important feedback.

7 tips for a detailed communication plan

Communicating with participants about pensions and making sure they understand the impact of the transition on their pensions is a critical success factor. The importance of a well-thought-out communication plan is therefore high. These tips will help make it more specific and detailed.

  1. Don’t just make the plan for the regulator. The assessment by the AFM is important in the transition process, but ultimately the plan has to work for the fund and the participants. That is why it is important to draw up a plan based on one’s own objectives that is usable in implementation. It is important to include the AFM’s preconditions in this process.
  2. Elaborate sufficiently on the different communication target groups. The more specific the target groups are, the more specific the plan becomes. A generic target group results in generic communication.
  3. Formulate objectives from the participant’s perspective and provide the plan with moments of measurement and evaluation. Communication around Wtp is for the participants. They need to understand the messages and know what is relevant to them. Therefore, formulate objectives from the participant perspective. With general objectives, there is a risk that it will be less focused on the participant and more difficult to interpret. The more specific the objective, the more efficient the measurement moments and possible adjustment.
  4. Make the communication message sufficiently specific per target group. Every target group has different information needs. There is a distinction between general and personal communication. Adapt to this. Do not only pay attention to the positive communication, but also be transparent about the disadvantages and risks for participants.
  5. Ensure sufficient coherence. Different messages should reinforce each other. The communication plan should show for which target group which message is relevant and which objective it achieves. Check whether there is coherence between the communication messages for each target group.
  6. Incorporate the AFM’s concerns into the plan. The AFM’s feedback is there for a reason. Take the following points to heart: Is the plan sufficiently concrete? Is regular communication part of the plan and is the connection clear? Are the messages sufficiently concrete? Is attention paid to possible questions from participants?
  7. Have the plan read by people outside the Wtp team. To make sure the message is understood by everyone and not assumed prior knowledge, it pays to have the plan read by people distanced from transition and communication.

These tips can be an additional tool in creating a concrete communication plan. But sometimes strange eyes give the final push to create a good plan. Projective Group supports many pension funds in the Wtp transition. We know the challenges pension funds face. We combine our years of experience at regulators and experience with communication projects on complex financial products with consumers. We are happy to help think about the design and layout of the communication plan and can also review it.