Case study: BT transmits a model approach to financial education

BT offers a voluntary programme of financial education for employees aged over 50 to help them begin planning for retirement. This includes seminars, offered in conjunction with provider Wealth at Work, as well as BT’s own online pensions modelling tool.

Dennis Gissing, head of people practices at BT, says: “We have a very diverse workforce and around 30% of our employees are aged 50 and above.

“One of the problems we had is the pace of change of employment and tax laws, and, of course, pension scheme changes. We supported our efforts with website information. We did not want participants to go away with simply a paper pack of information that would need updating. Changes are picked up by revisions to the website, so current information is available as it arises.”

Using the pensions modeller, staff can model various scenarios to show what benefits might be available to them in different circumstances. “For instance, the pensionable age in 2009 was 60 and staff could draw their pension in full,” says Gissing. “In 2009, the pensionable age was moved to 65. The modeller takes into account the principle of actuarial reduction – the earlier they go, the greater the reduction will be. The modeller will know what will happen if [staff] go at 55 and make the adjustments.”

These tools help staff to make lifestyle choices while being fully aware of the possible financial consequences. “The tools give staff personal choices in terms of when do they want to stop amassing a bigger pension, in favour of stopping work sooner. The [tolls] are there to get staff thinking about what they are aiming for. They may have a bereavement to contend with, or care or health issues.”

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