Next week Benefits Guru will be announcing its first set of Financial Wellness ratings. Over the course of the next few weeks our insights will focus on some of the areas we have benchmarked, and we will share some of the finer detail with you.
It is fair to say that Financial Wellness is a subject that all pension providers are taking seriously. We are beginning to see a number of new initiatives and propositions come to market which are designed to help members gain a better level of understanding about their finances and help to create a more financially stable future.
Our latest insight examines what research providers conduct in order to gain a better understanding of what members want from a financial wellness proposition and what they offer in terms of events.
Financial wellness is critical for all workplace pension members. Money related stress can affect every aspect of a member’s life, including professional productivity.
Financial wellness is more important than ever with the Coronavirus pandemic weighing heavily on the finances of many UK workers. Most of us will be vulnerable due to financial stress at some stage of our lives. According to the FCA the pandemic has vastly increased the number of vulnerable adults in the UK with 27.7m now having characteristics of vulnerability, which include low financial resilience.
Our data shows that almost all workplace pension providers conduct research in order to gain a better understanding of what their members want from a financial wellness proposition. Only True Potential does not carry out any research.
Over half (60%) of workplace pension providers carry out this research in house. However, Legal & General, Scottish Widows and Standard Life conduct independent external research.
Research is most commonly conducted with workplace pension members and employer clients, with all workplace pension providers who conduct research reaching out to these groups. Other than Mercer Master Trust Aviva and Mercer Master Trust Scottish Widows they also conduct research with adviser clients.
The general public are also commonly part of the research by providers. Other than Cushon, Hargreaves Lansdown, Legal & General and Legal & General Master Trust all workplace pension providers who conduct research do so with a mixed random audience.
The research is most commonly conducted via a combination of surveys, interviews, case studies and focus groups with all workplace pension providers. Other than Royal London, who just conduct surveys and interviews as part of their research.
Despite all the research being done, it is interesting to see that only Fidelity, Fidelity Master Trust, Legal & General, Legal & General Master Trust, Mercer Master Trust Aviva and Mercer Master Trust Scottish Widows have developed or changed their financial wellness offering as a direct result of feedback gained from this research.
Hosting financial wellness events can also provide workplace pension providers the chance to gain feedback on their financial wellness propositions.
Our data shows that other than Mercer Master Trust Aviva, Mercer Master Trust Scottish Widows, and True Potential all workplace pension providers host financial wellness events for members and employers. Other than Legal & General and Legal & General Master Trust who also host events for advisers.
The majority of workplace pension providers take a holistic approach to discussing the key concept and benefits of financial wellness programs at these events. Cushon and Royal London however just focus on their own products.
All events also include external speakers other than those hosted by Fidelity.
Our data shows that most workplace pension providers have a dedicated financial wellness team who members, employers and advisers can contact to have detailed conversations. Only Aegon Workplace ARC, Mercer Master Trust Aviva and Mercer Master Trust Scottish Widows do not have a team for this.settings.
Overall, our data shows that the majority of workplace pension providers both conduct research into their financial wellness programmes and host events.
The most comprehensive across the board are Scottish Widows and Standard Life, who conduct independent external research with members, employers and advisers alongside the general public. They also all host financial wellness events that do not just focus on their own products, and have a dedicated financial wellness team.