Hargreaves teams with master trust

Hargreaves teams with master trust

Members of the Atlas Master Trust will have access to a range of workplace savings options after the master trust has entered into a partnership with provider Hargreaves Lansdown.

The partnership will introduce clients to options such as a workplace Isa, general investment account, self-invested personal pensions as well as specialist retirement income solutions.

Stephen Lefley, head of workplace solutions at Hargreaves Lansdown, said the firms decided to combine a range of savings options due to the tax rules governing pensions.

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He said: “Gone are the days when a pension was the only answer necessary in the workplace. Given the restrictions to pension saving such as the tapered annual allowance and the lifetime allowance, people need a more comprehensive blend of savings solutions. 

“An ideal workplace financial wellbeing strategy has to include Isas and wider savings solutions to help employees benefit from the recent pension freedoms, as well as more obvious short and medium term savings goals.”

The partnership will prioritise a diverse savings offering to meet the varying needs of both employers and employees.

Mr Lefley added: “Looking ahead, the priority is much more about savings diversification within the workplace, for which there is growing demand.

"Atlas is a market-leading master trust and this partnership brings together the strengths of both organisations to help people engage and plan more confidently for their future.”

The partnership has highlighted four target groups for its new offering made up of first-time buyers, higher earners, additional savers and employers.

By employers offering the Lifetime Isa alongside a pension they can help individuals get on the housing ladder.

A hybrid savings option could also be beneficial to higher earners as the government has estimated that 140,000 people are in danger of breaching the annual allowance of £40,000.

By saving into a workplace Isa or using a general investment account alongside their pension people will be able to boost their pension pot without facing a potentially hefty tax bill.

But Ivor Harper, director at advice firm Park Financial Limited, said having too many savings options may be confusing for individuals and could reduce overall pension saving levels.

Mr Harper said: “If the workplace scheme is of good quality, what added benefit comes from a second pension option? All it does is adds further complexity to the employee decision process. 

“Unless it's about driving additional revenue to the Sipp option - something only of 'actual' value to a tiny minority.”

He added: “The idea of alternative savings vehicles is good - in principle. However, I feel its impact will be to reduce overall pension saving levels.

“Also, given how competitive the Isa/general investment account market is, I fear employer schemes here won't be price efficient. I have seen little evidence so far of anything but inferior value offerings in the corporate Isa arena.”

Tim Morris, independent financial adviser at Russell & Co, is also skeptical about the partnership's plans as people tend to dip into their savings regularly when they are held in an Isa.