A disunited and untrusting United Kingdom?
Updated: Dec 12, 2019
A disunited and untrusting United Kingdom? This is our industry’s best opportunity to turn things around and create a brighter retirement future for the nation
The largest survey of institutional trust in the world- the Edelman Trust Barometer 2019 was released recently and if you haven’t seen it yet, you must take a look. Unsurprisingly given where we are with Brexit, general findings around trust in politicians and government has broken down, with 61% saying their views are not represented in British politics and trust in the party leaders is at an all-time low. Trust in core institutions overall is also at rock bottom. However, interestingly while 44% believe that of those institutions the Government is most broken, the story for media and business is more positive by comparison at 8% and 4% respectively.
For the media specifically, while Brexit fatigue is rife, it has actually encouraged people to read more political news and six in ten (59%) people are turning back on to news and media. Overall, people are consuming more news and sharing it more than they did last year. An increase in news engagement can only be a good thing, and this has increased by 22% on last year’s survey.
With such apparent lack of trust in the Government and its ability to govern its way through the choppy political waters we currently find ourselves in, people are instead looking to business to take the lead and fill the void they do not sense the Government is able to. In fact, more than three out of four people now look for company CEO’s to take the lead on change rather than waiting for the Government to act.
For those of our clients with employee benefits propositions and a focus on well-being and financial wellness, there are some interesting findings around trust in your employer. Three in four people state that how a company treats its employees is one of the best indicators of its level of trustworthiness, and employees increasingly look to their employer as a trusted source of information on what is happening in the UK, on current affairs and social issues and also to do what is right.
While there is no specific mention of trust in pensions or investments in this particular survey, it sparked my interest on that topic and I found a fascinating article written late last year by Jo Cumbo in the FT. The headline is pretty sobering. But combined with some of the findings above it struck me that as for many things, when one falters, another takes on strength and with this apparent declining trust in our politicians, the pensions and investment industry has both a responsibility and opportunity to really step into the void and make the most of this growing expectation of business to fulfil the shortcomings of Government. It could make the ultimate difference to addressing educational and information needs of members, employees, investors and clients, and contribute to turning around the retirement prospects of our nation which will (we hope) become more reunited and trusting once again.