Skipton launches groundbreaking new online community with diverse team

Skipton Building Society has this week announced the launch of a unique online retirement community,, and the team at the helm has been revealed to include an ex-financial and pensions trade journalist as one of three key appointments.

Heading the development and management of the site up is Clare Mahood, who has moved from the role of Skipton’s proposition manager to retiresavvy senior manager.

In her previous role Clare was responsible for the development and roll out of Skipton’s retirement related services throughout 2014, on the back of customer insight.

Her key role as retiresavvy Senior Manager will be in project managing the development of the site and pushing it forward to ensure it hits ambitious growth targets, managing marketing budgets and leading the business strategy for the site. Clare, who also has journalistic and PR training, will also oversee the editorial content planning and play a key role in working with contributors.

Clare is supported by Rebecca Harrison as digital marketing manager who brings with her skills in SEO, PPC, Google analytics, email marketing, content marketing and social media marketing along with an understanding of the compliance regulations required for all of the above within financial services, having worked on the main Skipton brand digital communications for the last two years.

Rebecca’s role is focused on optimising for search and making sure all online and social promotional opportunities are capitalised on, to draw in new audiences.

Leading the site’s editorial side is ex-financial journalist Andrew Sheen, from Guiseley, who takes the role of content editor, having joined Skipton after working in financial journalism and PR over the last eight years.

Previous experience includes roles on key trade and industry titles such as Professional Pensions, Life & Pension Risk and Pensions Insight.

Andrew, who’s role is to help demystify retirement for readers, will manage the content development and contributors on a day to day basis, as well as writing easy to digest tips and articles to help guide people through the retirement maze, as well as offering insight and commentary on pension and retirement news, and government changes.

Andrew, 31, said: “With the new pension rules introduced on 6 April, people are facing more confusion and uncertainty than ever before about what will become of their pensions and the options available to them once they retire.

“I’m delighted to be in a position where I can help people make sense of all this, through I’m also really excited about helping to tell the stories of some really interesting retirees – a huge proportion of the site is content provided by people already living retirement.

“We want to share insights and hindsight to help those approaching retirement picture their futures, as well as bringing together retirees for them to exchange stories and experiences.I’d love to inspire people from my generation to start planning for their retirement sooner, as well as supporting those who are further down the line.”

Recognising that consumers need more help, retiresavvy has been created as a resource for people who are approaching and in retirement, tackling one of today’s most pressing issues – retirement readiness.

Originating in Skipton’s commitment to Community and Corporate Responsibility, it will help people prepare for the retirement they want by offering information, real-life case studies and peer to peer support and discussion via a live forum.

Clare Mahood, retiresavvy senior manager, said: “We know that many people are confused and uncertain when it comes to their retirement and there is still very much a problem of people burying their heads in the sand.

“With retiresavvy we want to make it easy, and accessible for people to get information so they can start to explore their options and we’ve got a great team that can help make this happen.

“Our retiresavvy editorial team is absolutely dedicated to providing irresistible, helpful content that will help to demystify retirement by encouraging people to look afresh at their plans for later life and consider taking positive action to improve their positions.

“We welcome involvement from anyone who would like to add to the richness of the discussion, either as a contributor or as a user. “We aim to help plug the huge gap in retirement information that exists in today’s society, despite the growing complexity and urgency of this issue.”

The Society realised there was an urgent need for a resource like after research it conducted showed that 39 per cent of people were not confident in their own financial plans for retirement. Two in five said they are underprepared for their retirement.

In 2014, the Society launched its Retirement Review Service in direct response to this feedback. It aims to understand customers’ individual future aspirations and provide them with a holistic, personalised financial roadmap to help achieve them.

Where appropriate we can arrange an appointment with a qualified Financial Planning manager from our wholly owned subsidiary Skipton Financial Services Limited,  who can provide investment and pension advice.

While benefitting from the backing of Skipton as a respected mutual financial services brand, is a community in its own right. It has its own ethos and purpose centred around giving those planning for and in retirement a powerful voice through its rich and varied content and its live forum.

After testing the site with the help of a group of around 300 volunteer users, launched on 21 April, complete with a forum.

Rebecca Harrison


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