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By Michael Trudeau | Published May 02, 2012

Aviva research reveals workplace savings advice gap

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Less than one in four large companies hire a financial adviser to encourage employees to save in the workplace despite poor savings rates and difficulties being faced with new auto-enrolment rules, new research published today (2 May) by Aviva suggests.

For the first edition of a report on workplace savings, Working lives, Aviva surveyed 210 employers and 2,004 employees at companies of varying sizes to determine their knowledge of auto-enrolment, willingness to save and perceived usefulness of advice.

The report finds that 23 per cent of businesses with more than 5,000 employees hire a financial adviser to encourage saving. The number declines as the size of the business decreases, with only one in ten companies with up to 19 employees hiring an adviser.

Auto-enrolment is another significant challenge facing businesses, the report finds. Although 70 per cent of surveyed employers are aware of the upcoming changes, only 43 per cent have actively started planning for them.

Just over a quarter of employers said they don’t tend to communicate with employees on pensions, which Aviva says suggests that many companies need guidance and advice not just on how to approach auto-enrolment but on the importance of engaging with staff on benefits as well.

According to Iain Oliver, head of workplace savings development at Aviva, the figures indicate an “excellent opportunity” for advisers and employee benefits consultants to work with private sector employees.

He said: “Not only to most private sector businesses need to think of creative, cost-effective ways in which to encourage staff retention but they also need to make some important decisions on pension provision going forward.

“While each firm obviously knows the sector they specialise in well, they often need expert guidance when making these types of choices.

“Indeed, many employers appear to be in the dark about what their options are and how they should communicate with their staff on these issues.”

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