Just 3pc of employers see advisers as responsible for financial education

Sean McSweeney, Chase de Vere

Just 3 per cent of employers believe financial advisers are responsible for delivering financial education to their employees, ranking way behind the Government, pension providers, employers and even employees themselves, a new survey has found.

Asked ‘Whose responsibility is it to provide financial education?’, 65 per cent of respondents cited the Government 65, while 14 per cent thought it should be the pension provider and an identical proportion saw it as the responsibility of the employer. Just 3 per cent thought it was the responsibility of financial advisers, even though 88 per cent of employers said they believe greater freedom to access pension funds creates a need for more financial education for employees in the workplace.

The score for financial advisers is even lower than the 4 per cent of employers who thought financial education is the responsibility of employees themselves.

The research, conducted through interviews with decision-makers in 300 randomly selected businesses, was carried out by Chase de Vere in conjunction with independent research company Lightbulb. The companies surveyed were selected on the basis of an analysis of 2,500 business records that are representative of the UK company population.

The research found 74 per cent of employers have made employees aware of changes to pension fund access for those aged 55, while 26 per cent had not.

Individual personalised letter or email were used as communication channels by 78 per cent of those surveyed, with 69 per cent using an induction pack, 42 per cent using a handbook, 34 per cent opting for meetings, 28 per cent using automated letters, 17 per cent relying on noticeboards and 16 per cent using seminars.

Chase de Vere corporate advice manager Sean McSweeney says: “It is encouraging that employers understand that their employees would benefit from financial education in the workplace. However, it is alarming that many of them believe the responsibility for this falls on the Government, a relatively small number believe they are responsible themselves and hardly any think that financial advisers should be taking responsibility.

“These employers’ views are in conflict with the Financial Advice Market Review which says that ‘The workplace presents an opportunity to help more people access financial guidance and increase take-up of financial advice’ ”.

“While the Government guidance services are useful, they are limited in their scope and rely on employees being pro-active to contact them in the first place. We know that this doesn’t happen enough.

“Also, most of the communications provided by employers are written rather than face- to-face where employees would be able to ask questions.

“This is a real challenge, and a real opportunity, for financial advisers to be speaking with employers and explaining the benefits that financial advice services, delivered by professionally qualified advisers, can provide for their employees and their business.”