A new transatlantic defined contribution (DC) survey from State Street Global Advisors (SSgA), the investment management business of State Street Corporation (NYSE:STT), has found that retirement confidence remains alarmingly low among DC plan participants polled in the US, UK and Ireland.
SSgA’s most recent survey,* conducted with more than 2,000 plan participants, gives global insights into the unique needs of participants in different countries. It also gives single-country plans actionable information about country specific participant concerns. The findings indicate that just 31 percent of US participants, 26 percent of UK participants and 17 percent of Ireland participants feel confident that they will have enough saved through their employer sponsored DC plan to afford the lifestyle they want in retirement.
Nigel Aston, managing director and the head of UK DC at SSgA commented, “The latest DC survey highlights yet again that DC members principally view themselves as savers, not investors. Understanding this mindset is critical for providing the right kind of support to encourage increased contributions in workplace DC plans. We’re seeing consistently high levels of discomfort around market volatility, so it is more important than ever to ensure that pension plans offer investments that address this concern. Default strategies that balance risk and return can help increase the effectiveness of long-term saving efforts.”
The results also highlighted that investment knowledge remains critically low, with only 22 percent of respondents, on average, rating themselves as “very or extremely” knowledgeable about financial matters such as savings and investments. This lack of financial expertise may explain why investors were unwilling to take on additional risk to achieve greater returns, as only 27 percent of US participants, 15 percent of UK participants and 10 percent of Ireland participants would take “somewhat high risk or high risk” investments in order to achieve better returns.
“Many of our multinational clients are interested in aligning retirement plans across geographies,” said Fredrik Axsater, managing director and global head of DC at SSgA. “They are looking for research and ideas to help them build the best possible pension plans for their global employee network while operating within a unique regulatory environment specific to their region. SSgA is positioned to help plan sponsors find a consistent, practical approach to plan design and participant engagement.”