A matter of trust

Winning and maintaining the trust of employees is crucial to the success of corporate wrap, says Jenny Keefe

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Corporate wrap may give the life offices behind them a captive audience for financial services products, but employees will be resistant to a hard sell, warned delegates at last month’s Corporate Wrap Forum in London.

Delegates were unanimous that corporate wrap will suffer if employers feel their wrap provider is trying too hard to influence workers’ purchasing decisions.

But Jonathan Phillips, head of consultancy solutions at Bluefin, said that smart use of technology could help the financial services industry to win over employees. “Retailers’ websites are very good at it. Supermarkets use points to reward loyalty, and Amazon looks at the last items that their customers viewed,” said Phillips. “Technology knows an enormous amount about someone: what they earn, where they live, the funds they invest in and when they’re likely to retire. Advisers can use that information to communicate to employees the things that might affect them.”

Phillips’s view was shared by John Taylor, market director of corporate pensions at Scottish Widows, who said wraps could be used to gather marketing information in the same way as the Tesco Clubcard. “We know what employees buy and where their money is. Providers can even look at what scenarios the employees are considering, so if it’s clear they need help with what to do with their bonus, for example, the provider can direct them to receive financial advice,” he said.

But Roy Edie, senior consultant at Watson Wyatt, struck a cautious note, saying too aggressive an approach could alienate workers. “If employees feel the wrap is just opening the floodgates for their employer to send a load of marketing material, they are not going to be too inspired by that. They will get turned off.”

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