This is the second part of our Financial Wellness insight exploring what services and tools workplace pension providers are offering as part of their financial wellness solutions.

The way in which people save has changed over the last few years. The introduction of Personal Financial Management tools has allowed for savers to make small regular saves, rather than the more traditional larger monthly saves we were previously used to.  

Our research shows that only True Potential offer a micro savings functionality as part of their workplace pension proposition. Members have access to their Impulse Savings tool (an integral element of their mobile app and online accounts) which offers clients unparallel access to their investments, with the ability to see how they are performing against their goals 24/7.

Clients can analyse their investments, see their net overall wealth and top up on-the-go from just £1 any time they like (into a pension, GIA or ISA vehicle).

Fidelity do offer users the ability of sweeping surplus income and one-off micro savings, but we understand that this is not part of their workplace pension offering.  Standard Life offer a similar service, but we believe that this is part of their flexible benefits package via Vebnet and not part of their standard workplace pension offering.

One area which has become a key focus for many employers in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic is how they can support vulnerable employees.

Our data shows that most workplace pension providers (70%) are able to adapt their financial wellness communications to support the needs of vulnerable customers.

Royal London have a detailed view on vulnerability across their products, via both a Group Insight team and a Conduct Risk team. This has helped them drive training for their servicing teams, to allow them to recognise (and record) where a customer has a vulnerability. Royal London has also partnered with The Money Advice Trust to help develop their training approach and hired a dedicated Vulnerable Customer Manager to lead their approach.

Standard Life launched their Helping Hand initiative in 2017, to support them in identifying and providing the right support for customers who are or who may be facing any number of personal challenges. They have in place extensive training to ensure their staff all have an understanding of different vulnerabilities and how they can best support customers in potentially vulnerable situations.

When it comes to communicating with their members who have questions about their financial wellness proposition, email (85%) and telephone (85%) communication are the most common forms of support for workplace pension providers. Webchat is also surprisingly well supported with over half (55%) of providers supporting this. Around a third (35%) of providers support live chat for their financial wellness support, and 40% of providers offer instant messaging as an option.

As part of their financial wellness proposition, our data shows that 85% of workplace pension providers offer their members savings statements. Those who offer statements allow members to access these online, via mobile device or as a hard copy document.

Only Aegon are able to update these statements in real time. Fidelity, Royal London and Salvus update them daily. True Potential update user savings statements quarterly. The remaining providers who offer savings statements update their these yearly.

Over half (65%) of workplace pension providers also use push notifications to communicate their financial wellness proposition with members. However, only 20% of providers allow their users to control the regularity of these notifications.

In terms of where their financial wellness policy sits within their wider wellness functionality as a whole – all but one provider (True Potential) offer other wellness policies. Physical and mental wellness are the most popular functions and are offered by 50% of providers. A slightly smaller 40% of workplace pension providers also offer social wellness services.

Financial wellness is an area where we believe that there will be lots of change next year. This is such an important area for many pension providers, and we know that many have plans to extend what services they are offing in 2021.

The last two insight have looked at what each of the providers can currently do to support their members and in January 2021 Benefits Guru will be carrying out its first ever financial wellness benchmarking and ratings exercise. As part of this process, we are currently engaging with all the pension providers and adding to our existing detailed question set.  If you have a financial wellness offering and would like to be included, please contact Jason Green for further details.