The Pensions Policy Institute has established a strong reputation within the pension industry, in Government circles and with the media for its independent, evidence-based analysis and comment in the field of pensions and retirement policy. Its research findings are used extensively by Government decision-makers and advisers, other political parties, pension and savings providers, employers and trade unions, academics, commentators and the wider public.
We are always interested in ideas and suggestions for topics for future research and Briefing Notes. Please contact Sarah Luheshi, PPI Deputy Director at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any ideas and suggestions or wish to discuss any of the work we undertake.
Please read further for more information on the research the PPI is currently and will be conducting over the next year.
Core Research – funded with income from the PPI’s Supporting Membership Scheme
Briefing Notes and Reports
The PPI produces Briefing Notes on topical policy issues – please click here [insert link] to see our more recent publications. In addition, the PPI will sometimes publish reports on such topics, where they merit a more detailed investigation.
The PPI responds to major Government consultations, Select Committees or other Parliamentary Inquiries on policy on pensions and retirement provision. Please click here to see our more recent submissions.
The Pensions Primer: a guide to the UK pensions system
This guide gives a detailed description of the current UK pensions system. The guide is intended for people wanting to learn about the UK pensions policy framework.
The PPI has produced an updated guide for 2016 reflecting policy changes and benefit uprating announcements. This version of the guide reflects the current position of, and legislated future changes to, the UK pension system as at June 2016. Please click here for the current version.
The PPI maintains a compendium of key facts and statistics on pensions and retirement provision in the UK. The aim is to collate into a single place a range of different statistics on demographic change, key state pension and private pension indicators. Key tables will be updated as new data becomes available. Pensions Facts can be viewed here
Pensions Modelling and Development
The PPI has constructed a suite of micro-simulation models to analyse long-term outcomes from the current UK pensions system and possible reforms. The original development of the models was funded by the Nuffield Foundation.
Each year the PPI conducts a model update exercise in which the latest data are incorporated and the long-term assumptions are reviewed. The models have been designed to allow different types of analysis under different pensions systems:
- The Individual Model projects future state and private pension income for hypothetical individuals with different characteristics.
- The Aggregate Model projects long-term government expenditure on pensions and contracted-out rebates, income from the private pensions system and the fiscal cost of tax relief.
- The Distributional Model projects forward the distribution of pensioner incomes consistently with the Aggregate Model.
- The Dynamic Model uses longitudinal data on people aged over 50 in England (taken from the English Longitudinal Survey of Ageing) to make deterministic projections about future retirement outcomes using a dynamic micro-simulation model.
The models have been developed in recent years: our individual modelling capability has been expanded with a stochastic investment model and the aggregate model can now model public sector and the private sector pension schemes separately. Future developments included improved modelling of retirement decisions and transitions into retirement, including the holding of investments beyond State Pension Age. These recent developments were also funded by the Nuffield Foundation.
DWP Social and Economic Research Framework
The PPI is on the DWP’s Social and Economic Research Framework under the policy areas of Pensions and Ageing. The PPI welcomes contact with regards to collaborative work in these research areas.
The PPI undertakes commissioned research for third party clients provided that the research is:
- Within the PPI’s charitable objective;
- The PPI has the capability and the capacity to undertake the research; and
- The research sponsor or sponsors are happy for the final research to be published.
Consumer Engagement Report Series
The PPI launched a project that, over a series of three reports, explores the issue of engagement in detail.
The first report unpicks the theory behind engagement, explores the definition and potential impact of engagement, and identifies the lessons behavioural economics has to teach.
The second report explores the practical applications of the theory and segments the population into groups that might or might not benefit from particular types of engagement.
The third report sets out what the experiences of other countries can teach us about how (and how not) to apply policies intended to encourage engagement.
The project is intended to enrich the body of evidence and knowledge around engagement and to assist policy-makers, industry and providers to understand how engagement can be used to help people achieve better outcomes in retirement.
The research project is being funded by a consortium: the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA), LV=, Pinsent Masons, State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS), The Pensions Regulator (tPR), The People’s Pension, and the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).
The first report was published in February 2017, the second report published in May 2017 and the final report will be published in July 2017. See publications for further details.
Policies for increasing long-term saving of the self-employed - Old Mutual Wealth
The research will review recent analysis of the changes in the self-employed population from a variety of sources to construct a picture of the self-employed, their characteristics and savings levels. This data will be used to inform analysis of two key modelling themes:
- Aggregate savings levels across the self-employed population to provide the order of magnitude of the problems faced by the self-employed.
- The development of a small number of possible policy responses. Based on a small number of “typical” self-employment work histories illustrate the potential outcomes under this range of different savings and policy scenarios.
Sources of Retirement Income - Age UK
There has been a growing focus on differences in trends in living standards between various age groups. The pensioner group has experienced increases to their median income at a faster rate than other age groups with this increase being largely due to new pensioners having a higher income than existing pensioners. Through longitudinal analysis of pensioners it is possible to consider the changing sources of income within the population and answer the following questions:
- How does dependency upon the State Pension change through retirement for individuals?
- How does dependency on other state income change through retirement?
- How has the variability of private sources of income been balanced by stability of income from the state?
Employer / employee contributions – NOW: Pensions
By 2019, the total automatic enrolment contribution will be 8% of band earnings, made up of 3% from employers, 4% from employees and 1% from the government. This research looks into:
- How the UK contribution pattern compares to those of other Defined Contribution based countries?
- The behavioural economics behind possible changes to the contribution balance, for example, what might happen to opt-out rates if the contribution was 5% employer and 3% from employee?
- If employers were required to contribute more than 3% where would the additional investment come from?
The Future Book III – Columbia Threadneedle Investments
The Future Book is an annual PPI research publication providing a regular update on the DC and automatic enrolment landscape. There is a focus on the number of members saving into DC, their level of contributions and DC assets, and how their assets are being invested. The 2017 publication builds on the previous two reports and a report will be launched in October.
DC Pooling – Schroders
This research will present an overview of DC investment pooling in the UK context. It will look at potential advantages and disadvantages, including analysis of overseas markets, such as South Africa; covering how the market for pooled DC investment has developed, as well as the outcomes. The research will look to identify (if possible) any “measureable” returns arising from DC investment pooling (such as lower costs, illiquidity premiums on returns), and if possible, use such measurements to generate estimates of the potential impact on member outcomes.