Issues

Workplace savings demands long game thinking from providers

Another Money Marketing story caught our eye: http://www.moneymarketing.co.uk/wrap-and-technology/aviva-scraps-workplace-savings-plans/1067582.article and left us asking the question if one of the largest goliath’s in the provider world, Aviva, cannot make the numbers stack well enough to offer a wide choice of options in its employee benefits platform Work:Life, then who can make it work?

Work:Life which was launched in September, offers online access to Aviva’s GPP product and auto enrolment hub. At the time the provider said it planned to add a group SIPP, corporate ISA, general investment account, child SIPP and junior ISA later this year. But these options have now been dropped.

Is this perhaps a reaction to the increased scrutiny of the FSA linked to SIPP operators? Or is it more about Aviva’s concern that the cost of attracting employees to save, and then managing such a broad range of offerings, makes the ‘bells and whistles’ products unprofitable to run.

We think there are some key areas for providers to consider when building workplace offerings:

Ease of navigation: they need to make navigation easier than it is today. Does embedding the savings options into the existing corporate intranet work or are there too many layers? Does it look too disjointed from the rest of the offerings in the intranet?

Accessibility: how do you make the user interface interesting and enticing enough to encourage employees to use the platform to play with their options; educate themselves financially; and then make choices to take control of their savings?

Investment performance: linked to the above, how do you ensure that employees develop and stick with the savings habit if investment performance continually lags their financial aspirations?

Data Protection: employees have a natural suspicion that any data they put in the system about their financial status will leach through to their employer and may impact future pay rises and prospects at their employer. Reassurances about data protection are vital when stimulating savings planning within the walls of the employer’s intranet.

There is no doubt in our minds that the larger employee benefits product players will have to invest for quite a few years before they reap the rewards as AE stimulates many more employees into the long term savings habit. We also think Straight Through Processing technology needs much more widespread adoption to cut processing costs and make the experience smoother for employees. Finally, providers need to play the long game. But how many are prepared to do so when group profits are threatened remains to be seen.

Tags: Accessibility, Data Protection, financial aspirations, GPP, group, group SIPP, Investment Performance, ISA, platform work, Sipp, STP, Straight Through Processing, workplace savings

This entry was posted on Saturday, March 16th, 2013 at 4:20 pm and is filed under Annuity, Auto-enrollment, FSA, Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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