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Third of workers demand bosses pay for financial advice

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A third of workers believe their employers should pay for full financial advice in the workplace, according to the latest Scottish Widows Workplace Pensions Report.
Third of workers demand bosses pay for financial advice

The report, which polled more than 5,000 people, showed 37% believe bosses should provide workers will full financial planning.

The provider’s report highlighted a disparity of knowledge about auto-enrolment -the Government’s workplace pension scheme.

General awareness increased from just over a third (39%) in 2012 to almost two thirds (65%) this year. However, more than a quarter (28%) of those who have been auto-enrolled are unaware of how much they contribute and overall 44% of employees paying into their workplace pension scheme do not know how much their employer is contributing.
It said awareness remains particularly poor amongst those at whom the scheme is targeted, with one in five (21%) employees on an annual income of under £30,000 still not aware of the changes.

Scottish Widows said these statistics pointed to the need for greater guidance on retirement options.

The number of employees who believe their employer ought to give some form of guidance around finances in retirement has increased sharply year-on-year, rising from 74% in 2012 to 94% this year. More than half of employees (57%) now think their employer should provide general information about retirement planning, in addition to providing a workplace pension scheme.
Despite this demand, the report showed that employers are currently one of the last places people turn to for advice. Just 18% would go to their employer for advice about pensions, behind the Financial Conduct Authority website (20%), pension providers (21%), and friends and family. While a quarter (25%) said they would consult an independent financial adviser, this is down 5% on 2012’s figures.
Scottish Widows corporate pensions head of business development Lynn Graves said: “Auto-enrolment is a vital tool for improving savings behaviours, but it cannot work in isolation to change the nation’s attitudes to retirement.

“The pensions industry, government and employers have to educate the UK workforce about the importance of saving adequately for retirement, and how their workplace pension scheme can help them to be comfortable in old age. Alongside encouraging better employee engagement around workplace pensions, we are committed to achieving greater access to information and guidance, as well as improving transparency around pricing and governance of pension schemes.”

Elsewhere, the report showed the amount the average employee who is waiting to be auto-enrolled into a company pension scheme is willing to contribute towards their retirement savings has dropped by almost a quarter (24%) over the last year.

About 8.6 million people across the UK are still to be auto–enrolled.  The amount they are willing to save each month has fallen on last year’s levels in every salary bracket, bar the highest of £50,000+ per annum.  In real terms this amounts to a drop from £67 a month in 2012 to just £51 this year.
Scottish Widows said while the amounts are still above the minimum required contributions for automatic enrolment, they remain well below what is needed to match retirement aspirations.
It added the shortfall between current savings and desired annual income in retirement indicates that despite the positive impact of auto-enrolment, employees are still removed from the reality of retirement.

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