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Employee Benefits Workplace Savings Quarterly – April 2012


images (1)Welcome to the first Workplace Savings Quarterly from Employee Benefits magazine. It will guide human resource and benefits managers through the new world order of workplace savings so they can select the best strategies, services and benefits for their workforces, and the best means of delivery.

The issue of workplace savings has dramatically risen up the agenda for employers in recent months (after years of slowly moving to centre stage). We have now reached a perfect storm of several key events. Firstly, a drive from the government to increase retirement savings. Secondly, the incoming retail distribution review (RDR) rules around provider-paid commission that will change the face of financial education and advice in the workplace.

Thirdly, the rapid development of corporate savings platforms which aim to facilitate both savings and financial education of employees. And in fourth, but by no means final place, we have an economy forcing staff to be financially astute.

These elements are driving employers to review their current approach to retirement savings and other financial benefits in the workplace. We at Employee Benefits are increasingly seeing employers looking for new ways to engage staff in their own medium- and long-term savings, a move that was evident at our Pensions and Workplace Savings Summit last month.

On top of the four elements mentioned above, employers are also driven by a duty of care to employees and the need to ensure staff can afford to retire when they and their employer feel the time is right. Employers are also aware of rising stress levels from financial difficulties such as debt or managing student loans.

At the wealthier end of the workforce, there are high earners to keep happy by ensuring they are aware of the tax options available to them across their benefits package.

Many of these considerations are coming to the fore just as employers are reviewing and implementing the pension reforms, including auto-enrolment. Although budgets are tight for employers, these reforms do provide the catalyst to consider bringing in a more holistic strategy across financial benefits such as employee share schemes, corporate Isas and workplace pensions to maximise their earnings and savings through the workplace.

This Workplace Savings Quarterly therefore aims to tackle these specific areas of employee savings management in depth.

I would like to thank Padraig Floyd for being our editor for this new venture. He is a well-known pensions journalist and editor and we appreciate the knowledge and insight he brings to this series.

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