Mercer to launch corporate wrap product

Mercer is to launch a corporate wrap product called Mercer Workplace Savings Solution.

The platform will be launched in partnership with Friends Provident, Standard Life and Zurich, each of which is developing its own corporate wrap platform. Mercer’s system will guide users through the options and provider best suited to their individual circumstances.

Employees will be able to directly access investments and funds that have been traditionally available to institutional buyers through defined benefit (DB) schemes. Staff can also choose target-date funds designed by investment professionals.

The online portal will also offer employees options to invest their money in non-pension savings vehicles such as corporate individual savings accounts (Isa), cash accounts and unit trusts.

All funds will be continually updated as manager ratings are changed. Mercer will also provide a layer of governance and management to oversee the administration of its partners’ schemes.

Alan Whalley, chief executive of Mercer UK, said: “In developing this new approach, we had three objectives in mind – providing truly effective risk and cost management, delivering high-quality outcomes for members’ benefits including broader savings options, and ensuring our clients’ benefit solutions have robust protection for the future.

“Employers have many concerns about the growing costs and risks of their pension and benefit packages and how they can continue to make them relevant to today’s workforce. This solution ticks all the boxes in providing management and delegated governance, investments and cost certainty with preferential rates.

“In defined contribution (DC) schemes and wider savings options, benefit levels are largely dependent on individuals’ investment choices, yet many members lack the investment confidence and knowledge to make sound judgements.

“Providing guidance on decision-making, a simple structure and the reassurance of professional fund selection and support will be a great reassurance to employees, and should achieve better outcomes for them at retirement.”

Gerry O’Neill, corporate director at Standard Life, added: “We see a lot of emerging and significant opportunities in the market for the provision of bundled pension and non-pension benefit solutions.”

Steve Charlton, a principal and member of Mercer’s workplace savings development group, added: “We are at a time of great change in the industry, with technology rapidly evolving, new expectations arising in the employment market and a new auto-enrolment environment quickly approaching.

“In response, we have invested considerable energy and funds to ensure we are leading the charge in meeting the needs of [organisations] and their employees.”

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