Workplace pensioners are being ranked for their financial wellness capabilities in a new set of ratings launched by Benefits Guru, the information source from FTRC.
Benefits Guru’s ratings are designed to support advisers and employers in identifying which provider propositions will help improve financial outcomes for the consumer and highlight areas where providers could enhance their offerings.
Ratings are divided between those operating on an Open Finance functionality basis and those that are not.
Four provider propositions – Aviva, Fidelity, Scottish Widows and Cushon – all achieved an overall Gold rating for a number of their propositions in the financial wellness without Open Finance ratings.
In the financial wellness with Open Finance ratings categories, Mercer Master Trust and Standard Life both achieved Gold.
Benefits Guru will be publishing more detailed standalone Open Finance ratings next week.
Buck head of DC & wealth Mark Pemberthy says:“Employers now recognise that retirement planning is just one aspect of financial wellbeing. By extending their analysis to include the Financial Wellness capabilities on offer from workplace pension providers, Benefits Guru’s research provides a flexible basis for comparing the wider features and functionality now available to members, employers and advisers.”
Benefits Guru head of workplace research Jason Green says: “The ratings are designed to keep providers, employers and advisers abreast of what is a rapidly changing market, and to encourage further innovation in financial wellness propositions to truly improve the financial lives of the consumer. We expect more providers to make financial wellness announcements over the course of the next 12 months.”
Benefits Guru founder and director Ian Mckenna says: “There has never been a time when it was more important to support employees with financial wellness services. The Office for National Statistics has recently published data showing 1 in 3 adults who reported being unable to afford an unexpected expense of £850 experienced depressive symptoms in early 2021, compared with 21 per cent of adults before the pandemic. This clearly demonstrates Covid-19 has resulted in many forms of financial stress and providing such services is a positive way to provide much needed support.
“A pension proposition that offers a strong financial wellness component should be significantly more attractive to employers than one without such facilities. We believe employers who really care about their staff may consider moving from basic pension schemes to the growing number of alternatives who offer these valuable extra benefits.”