Employers left in lurch by HBOS exit

Employers have been forced to seek new providers for their voluntary benefits schemes following a decision by HBOS to close its worksite marketing arm.

Hotel group Malmaison and Hotel du Vin plans now plans to refresh its voluntary scheme. Sean Wheeler, group director of people development across both hotel chains, said: ‚ÄúWe will have to look for another provider. It is a nice benefit for our people to have, and we‚Äôd carry on with it.‚ÄĚ

Cable & Wireless is also among the companies affected. The telecoms firm introduced a scheme late last year, and is keen to find a substitute provider.

Jane Fenna, reward manager, said: ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a bitter blow as we only launched the scheme in September. We will have to find another provider [as] we don‚Äôt fancy doing the administration ourselves. That was the whole reason we went down the provider route in the first place.‚ÄĚ

Retailer Home Retail Group, meanwhile, confirmed the closure will affect the voluntary benefits plan for its 49,000 UK staffHBOS has said that it will see out its voluntary benefit contracts until the end of 2007, and its financial education plans until July this year. Brinc will also continue to maintain existing online portals for HBOS clients with bespoke voluntary benefits schemes until the end of the year.