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Skipton Building Society - For Life Ahead

The Experian Building Stronger Communities Award, in recognition of Sir John Peace, Finalist, 2016

Skipton Building Society has launched initiatives to contribute to the wider social debate around the often confusing world of retirement, drive awareness of the issues and be a strong and positive force for change.

Good for society

  • The project has created an online community, Retiresavvy, which provides a forum for people to raise issues and share experiences.
  • It has led to the creation of a measure showing the ‘state of the nation’ in relation to retirement confidence.

Good for business

  • The scheme has helped to associate Skipton Building Society as a credible voice in the arena of retirement.
  • The Society has been provided with valuable insight, which will inform and develop its future offerings to customers.

Skipton Building Society logo

Overview

Using online forums and a database of resources, Skipton Building Society is trying to make it easier for people to plan for life after retirement. 

The social challenges associated with retirement cover a wide range of areas including: lack of knowledge, financial preparedness, social implications, physical and mental health, and public perceptions of the elderly.

Pensions and retirement are more difficult to navigate than ever before with lots of confusing and sometimes conflicting options. Skipton is countering this by giving people of all ages a platform to find information and share experiences.

Retiresavvy reaches approximately 40,000 people every week through Facebook, and further 10,000 users visiting the retiresavvy site each month. Retiresavvy works in partnership with charities such as Relate, Age UK and Dementia Awareness and signposts users to practical help.  

The Society has also launched the Retirement Index, which aims to measure the "state of the nation in relation to retirement confidence.  At launch this had a potential reach of 136 million.

The building society, established in 1853, is encouraging its staff to engage with its For Life Ahead project at key life stages.  

Over 600 Skipton employees (35% of the workforce) have attended retirement workshops or events about their pension during 2015.

Background

Skipton is now the UK’s fourth largest building society, with over 800,000 customers, and has a national presence with a network of branches stretching from Aberdeen to Plymouth. The building society has a proud heritage with a commitment to mutuality placing its members at the heart of everything it does.

The company provides financial advice, savings, mortgage products and services to help customers with their day to day spending and borrowing, and planning for their life ahead. Skipton’s vision is to build a better society supporting the communities that surround it.

Getting retirement-ready 

Skipton’s research showed that two in five people were not confident about their retirement plans and were not financially prepared.  This lack of retirement-readiness is a very real social issue facing the UK. The building society is committed to helping facilitate change and address this issue as part of its active community strategy.   

Retiresavvy.co.uk is part of Skipton’s commitment to improving people’s knowledge of all aspects of retirement.  Skipton has developed and provided a community platform, which is an independent resource, for users to share knowledge and ask questions of the online community.  The site has been delivered in conjunction with external partners and is not-for-profit.  It does however have challenging KPIs regarding site engagement and content quality to ensure that its objectives are met.

Setting clear goals

Retiresavvy aims to raise awareness of the issues that surround retirement by providing high quality, impartial content, the aim is to ‘demystify retirement’. The site is a place to build a platform to inform, discuss and share experiences about all issues relating to retirement.

All colleagues are encouraged to make a personal connection with their ‘Life Ahead,’ structuring the proposition at key life stages. The return on investment for Skipton has been that our colleagues are personally engaged, better informed and equipped to deliver our customer proposition of for life ahead. 

What Skipton Building Society's CEO said:

“Retirement is a major social issue of today. In a landscape characterised by uncertainty, changing legislation and increasing life expectancy, it’s no surprise that people are unsure where they can turn to for help.  Skipton has created retiresavvy.co.uk to help people planning their retirements.  We aim to help plug the huge gap in retirement information that exists, despite the growing complexity and urgency of this issue.

“In addition we have also launched the Skipton Building Society Retirement Index - a state-of-the-nation benchmark on the retirement issues that matter to British people. Skipton’s Retirement Index is one of the first comprehensive studies to explore not just financial wellbeing, but also sentiment and confidence, looking at how expectation compares to reality when it comes to planning for life ahead. - David Cutter, Chief Executive Officer, Skipton Building Society

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