A prize winning paper on financial retirement risk and its effects on consumer saving behaviour

Problem Definition:

Individuals are not saving enough to manage a potentially long retirement despite their increasing awareness of the financial risks they face.


A critical review of the UK Government’s auto-enrolment pension policy conducted through an analysis of government texts and social marketing campaign, national press articles, employers and employees of four different UK organisations, using a critical discourse perspective.

The government’s pension policies have created inequality in the UK between private and public sector employees.  Despite adequate and sufficient insight to the issues in the retail savings market, political decisions have been made based on vested self-interests.  Government decisions resulted in a recursive risk transfer process which places the risk burden on the weakest in society, i.e. the low to middle income earner.

Key findings:

DC pensions are too complex for savers to self-manage. The default options of employers are seen as quasi-advice.  Retirement income will be inadequate for many consumers, leading to greater burden on the welfare state in the long-term.  Those individuals who are able to reflect and critically review government and their own action, as well as develop alternative non-political, community-related solutions which supplements government-sponsored pension solutions, will be the retirement income winners.

Employers are taking additional risks and responsibilities as a result of compulsory auto-enrolment pensions, which many are not equipped to manage effectively. The government are disenfranchising employer sponsorship of workplace pensions as a result of pension lifetime limits.

Awarded best paper at the Macromarketing Conference, Trinity College, Dublin.  June 2016.  The paper critically reviewed the UK government’s social media campaign for workplace pensions.