Auto-enrolment  

Quarter of employers offers financial advice to staff

Quarter of employers offers financial advice to staff

Only a quarter of employers are currently offering financial advice to their workers, research has revealed.

Furthermore, one third of employers are only matching their employees' pension contributions up to the legal minimum of 1 per cent, which shows that companies are not doing enough for their employees, the report stated.

The Working Late report commissioned by Wealth Wizards and carried out by the Centre of Economics and Business Research (CEBR) – which polled 1,000 workers and 500 companies - showed that 86 per cent of employees want to retire at or before the age of 65.

However, 20 per cent of respondents do not believe they will ever be able to retire.

According to Phil Blows, director at robo-advice firm Wealth Wizards, "If employers can't afford to increase pension contributions, they have to give employees access to the kind of tools that can help them to solve the problem themselves".

Currently the auto-enrolment minimum total contribution is 2 per cent - 1 per cent each from the employee and employer.

From April 2018, the minimum total contribution will increase to 5 per cent, with the employee paying 3 per cent.

One year later, it will increase again to 8 per cent, with the worker paying 5 per cent.

A total of £17bn a year will be going into workplace pensions by 2019 to 2020 because of auto-enrolment.

There are now more than nine million people auto-enrolled in a workplace pension scheme, according to figures from The Pensions Regulator.

Mr Blows told FTAdviser that he does not think that it is acceptable for companies to do nothing about this issue.

According to the report, the accepted norm is that employees need to be putting 12 to 15 per cent away to give them a comfortable post-retirement income, which means that employers are simply not running pension schemes that will leave their staff able to afford to retire when they want to.

For Mr Blows, the solution is in offering digital financial advice to staff.

He said: "We already have about 50 or so employers whom we work with, where we deliver digital financial advice to the workforce, so we have some really useful cases.

"We did some work with Intercontinental Hotel Group. We showed them that by delivering advice with some of the least engaged members of their pension population, we managed to increase their contributions by over 100 per cent on average.

"This does work in the market and we are confident that this is the solution to the problems that we have identified in the report."

For Kay Neufeld, senior economist from CEBR, the report showed that there is "inaction by employers".

He said: "Only two out of five employers said that they would prefer their workers to retire at 65, rather than working indefinitely, so there is a very high tolerance from employers of having people work into a very late age, into 70 and 80 [years old], even."