National Employment Savings Trust, London, is trying some new ways to improve retirement outcomes for self-employed people.
The £22 billion ($29.2 billion) defined contribution multiemployer plan announced Wednesday that its research and innovation unit, Nest Insight, is collaborating on research pilots with fintech pension provider Penfold and with Moneyhub, an open data and payment platform.
NEST said in the release that roughly 4.3 million U.K. residents are in some form of self-employment, but only 16% are actively saving into a workplace or personal retirement plan, compared with 88% of workers eligible for auto enrollment through their employer.
The two pilots will test various flexible savings solutions and "nudges" that could be introduced into online tools already used by self-employed people for managing finances, NEST said in the release.
Outcomes of the pilots will be analyzed by Nest Insight and publicly shared next year.
"We hope these insights will inform the industry and policymakers on how best to support self-employed people to save. The solutions being trialed are intended to be scalable and, if successful, could make it much easier for self-employed people to save towards future financial security," said Jo Phillips, director of research and innovation at Nest Insight, in the release.
"It's not that self-employed people aren't interested — there's a real appetite for saving for the longer-term. But self-employed people have told us that it can be difficult to find ways to save that fit with their lives and context — they often have limited time and headspace combined with variable income and future uncertainty," she said.
The research is supported by the U.K. Department for Work and Pensions. Guy Opperman, minister for pensions and financial inclusion, said in the release that automatic enrollment "has succeeded in transforming pension saving with more than 10 million workers enrolled into a workplace pension to date, and it is important that the self-employed are not left behind."