Hays offers communication around annuities as part of retirement planning

Hays is a FTSE 250 recruitment specialist firm with 3,215 UK employees. Just one in eight (276) employees are aged over 50. The current Hays pension offering is a 2,600-member group personal pension (GPP) plan provided by Legal and General.

With offices dotted around the country, some with just two people, pension communications can be problematic. As a result, Hays relies heavily, but not exclusively, on email and Microsoft Teams.

The GPP targets drawdown, and annuities are now more flexible with fixed-term options available. Employees can access an at-retirement solution which allows them to divide their money into pots: one for the first 10 years. If that runs out, then employees draw on the second pot, the rainy-day pot. If they live longer at that point, they can buy an annuity.

In addition to Hays’ own communications, Legal and General also provides sessions: some for newer staff to give them a grounding, some for midlife, and a refresher to get them to think about their ultimate retirement and what they will live on. The sessions often lead to follow-up questions. Kath Bedford, pension manager at Hays, says: “We do have one-to-ones. I am not an [independent financial adviser] (IFA); I can explain things to employees and get them to think about things they should be doing, but it is up to them if they want to take things further.

“We are just in the very early stages of talking about sessions with life coaches from Premier, now part of Isio, to make staff think where the retirement journey has taken them so far and where the financial side sits within that.”

However, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to retirement planning. Bedford says: “Think what is right for you and whether annuities are good or bad value at any given point. For some, the possibility of running out of money will be enough to send them into an early grave just because the market goes down. Others will happily ride occasional stock market storms.”