Guy Opperman, the Pensions and Financial Inclusion Minister, has recently spoken about his visit to the pottery business, Steelite, in Stoke. The company has several hundred employees and brings an IFA into the business on a regular basis to talk to them about their pensions. Opperman sees this as being a tremendously positive addition and one that other companies should emulate.
He is the first Pensions Minister to have Financial Inclusion added to his title, which demonstrates his commitment to promoting financial planning both in the community and the workplace. This is also reflected by the fact that he has set up a community bank to take on payday lenders and offer his constituents loans at reasonable rates.
The IFA within
In Opperman’s view, it should be part of an employer’s ongoing HR strategy to have an IFA visiting their premises to provide free financial advice to their staff. He explained that when he looks at the way people run their businesses he is always ‘stunned and amazed by how little organisations in all aspects of financial services don’t necessarily give financial capability, advice and financial HR to their employees.’
The problem is widespread, not just in financial services. Having a ‘resident’ adviser would not only be of benefit to the employees but also help with staff retention and productivity.
The Creative approach
As Employee Benefits consultants, we have been providing financial education in this way for some time now, so to know it is one of the Minister’s key objectives for businesses is a great endorsement.
A pension can be someone’s biggest asset but most employees in the UK are not offered any help to understand it, and so they fail to feel any ‘engagement’ with it. Without being offered any financial guidance, they don’t appreciate the value of their pension or how to make the most of it.
This is why we place great emphasis on helping employees gain a full understanding of their pension benefits. We go into companies and hold group presentations and member consultations, helping employees to feel a greater connection with their retirement planning. We also offer sessions on financial planning in general and its implications for later life. Our overriding aim is to ensure that employees are empowered to make the right decisions. In turn this leads to happy and motivated staff who can retire when they choose, which helps businesses with their succession planning.
If you agree with the principles behind what the Pensions Minister is saying and would like to offer this type of financial education to your employees, contact us here and one of our consultants will be in touch.