Personal Pension  

Employers fear employee retirement decisions responsibility

Employers fear employee retirement decisions responsibility

Nearly half of large company HR directors fear their workforce will hold them responsible if they make poor decisions at retirement from 6 April, with employers believing employees will look to them to provide guidance on retirement.

A survey with 100 HR directors of companies with more than 500 employees, conducted by Populus on behalf of consultancy Hymans Robertson found that 63 per cent believe their workers are just as likely to look to them as to the government (62 per cent) for guidance.

Only 39 per cent believe they should pay for employees’ financial advice, while 41 per cent believe their workers will be willing to pay for it themselves.

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This ‘guidance gap’ highlights the need for employers to find cost-effective solutions to help workers make informed decisions, according to Hymans, which also found support from 49 per cent of those surveyed for online tools as a way to tackle this.

Paul Waters, partner at the firm, commented that if some retirees fall through the cracks and make poor decisions, the finger of blame could be pointed in many directions, including at employers.

“Paying for full advice doesn’t look like an option employers are willing to fund, nor do they think their workers are willing to pay for it themselves.

“Individuals need advice, but they don’t value it, and certainly not enough to pay for it,” he stated, citing the consultancy’s research last year showed that 57 per cent of people would ensure that they make the right decisions by ‘doing it themselves’.”

Earlier today FTAdviser reported that the Personal Finance Society had written to the government and regulator about the risk of future claims on advisers if they do not address the issue of ‘insistent clients’ acting against their advice.

Mr Waters suggested that low cost online tools definitely have a role to play. “Our research has shown that many HR directors have made making the availability of online guidance tools a priority.

“As the reality of the pension freedoms kicks in and as everyone realises just how complex the decisions people need to make pre-retirement, at retirement and also through retirement, we’re sure many others will follow suit.”

peter.walker@ft.com