PlatformsMar 14 2012

Lending a helping hand

Search sponsored by

It has been over a year now since the first corporate wrap propositions were introduced on the market. During this period there has been a flurry of activity of both concepts and actual propositions being launched.

An interesting observation has been that these propositions have come in all shapes and sizes. We have seen propositions leading from flexible benefit platforms, investment-led platforms, financial education and guidance portals and group personal pensions with access to some flexible features. Some have been aimed at the largest of employers and others designed to fit across the wider small to medium-sized enterprise market.

So what makes a good corporate wrap platform and which ones will succeed?

The best corporate wraps are truly customer-centric propositions. Only those which engage with the employee and attract them enough to use the proposition will be the winners. Why? Well, products and services in the workplace are predominately offered at arm’s length. Employees tend to be offered access to pensions and other flexible benefits products at their own discretion. Auto-enrolment might change things but when you hear of poor take-up rates from existing pension schemes with generous employer contributions you can see the real challenge the industry faces. My point is no one will be sitting down and signing up employees and adding their assets onto a corporate wrap as they would do with an individual wrap. Therefore my view is that only those corporate propositions which are intuitive, easy to use and give real value to employees are likely to be compelling enough to encourage staff to use.

In general, workforces are varied with a small element of high earners and those with significant assets however the real success lies in connecting with the wider workforce.

Research clearly identifies the number one need of employees as access to financial education and guidance in the workplace.

Many of these new corporate platforms focus on financial education and the use of interactive tools to engage employees in their wider financial well-being. Pensions as we know are very complex and this is how they are perceived by the general public. Providing employees with a more interactive way to learn about their pension scheme can only help them begin to understand and value the benefits being provided by their employer.