For the last 11 years, BT has rolled out a programme of financial education for its employees to help them plan for retirement. So far, it has been delivered to approximately 80,000 of its UK employees.
Kerry Shiels, pension and benefits director at BT, says: “It is very important that employees understand their BT pension and the retirement decisions they will need to make in the lead up to, and at, retirement. We have put thousands of our employees through a retirement programme that consists of financial education and guidance.”
The programme, which is provided in partnership with Wealth at Work, aims to help employees who need help understanding their options and how to implement their plan; including retirement goals and considerations, accessing retirement savings, understanding the risks, tax planning, and how to seek further guidance and regulated financial advice.
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The latest series of retirement planning seminars saw a take-up rate of 73% of registered employees attending the session. “Typically, on a rating scale of one to five, with five being the highest, employees reported that their knowledge improved from 2.7 before financial education, to 4.1 following it,” says Shiels. “Also, 4.4 out of five said that they will take specific actions as a result of attending the education.”
Following the programme, 74% of BT’s employees reported that they wanted to discuss their personal circumstances and were able to arrange a call with a financial coach to ask any questions they had, for example, about the next steps. Access to an advisor was also available for those with more complex requirements or who wanted recommendations on their financial situation.
Shiels adds: “Our programme helps employees to manage their finances better to build their financial resilience so that they don’t need to access their pension earlier than planned. However, all employees will find themselves in different circumstances, so facilitating financial advice, following financial education and guidance, from a trusted retirement specialist provider is also beneficial to help individuals plan for their future.”