Three-quarters of large employers want to offer financial education and planning assistance

Employers want to take a greater role in helping employees with their personal financial planning, according to a survey conducted by consultants Watson Wyatt.

The survey found that 73 per cent of large UK employers want to offer financial education and planning assistance to their staff.

One of the main drivers is a concern reflected by a majority of 58 per cent of employers that many people may not have enough income to retire.

Companies also say they want to improve the perception of the employee reward/benefits package they offer, important to 70 per cent, while one in three wanted to obtain greater value from the money they spend on benefits. Only 18 per cent of employers feel they are getting full value from the employee benefits they currently provide.

The survey also found that 63 per cent of employers believe that in the next 15 years they will offer employees a wider range of savings and investment opportunities to employees.

“Many employers invest a significant proportion of payroll in pensions and other employee benefits but they are frustrated that the value of these benefits is too often not fully understood or appreciated, and that some employees make financial decisions that they will later come to regret,” says Gary Smith, a senior consultant at Watson Wyatt.

“While many companies care for the welfare of their staff, this growing interest in providing personal financial planning is not old-fashioned paternalism. For example, if significant numbers of people cannot afford to retire because of poor financial planning, this is likely to create significant workforce management problems in terms of productivity, succession planning and talent management.”

“The problem for many people is that it’s very difficult to obtain truly impartial financial advice. “Free or cheap advice usually means the opposite.

“Commission-driven advice too often results in inappropriate product-driven sales, high charges and – significantly in this context – the workplace benefits usually being underrated. Providing employees with access to truly impartial advice and guidance can be highly cost effective and add real value to employees and consequently employers,” says Smith