EXCLUSIVE: Octopus Group sees 15% take-up of financial coaching benefit

Octopus-Group

EXCLUSIVE: Investment organisation Octopus Group has seen 15% of its 700 UK employees take up a financial coaching benefit in the first four weeks since it launched in March 2018.

The benefit, provided by Hatch, was introduced to help employees improve their financial confidence, as a poll conducted in March 2018 found that less than 5% were confident they were doing all the right things when it came to their personal finances.

The financial coaching, which is offered as a voluntary benefit, enables employees to initially have a free coaching session. Following this, staff are able to attend a meeting with a financial coach, which includes a demonstration of financial planning software that details how their money is forecast to grow and whether they are on track for their financial goals.

The financial coaches are then able to create an action plan for employees, which shows what they can do around spending, savings, investments, pensions, mortgages and life cover in order to achieve their financial goals.

The benefit costs employees around £40 a year, net of tax savings, and is offered in conjunction with pension advice vouchers. Pension advice vouchers are provided on a salary sacrifice basis and allow individuals to save up to £310 a year on the cost of financial advice.

The financial coaching sessions were held in March, April and May.

The benefit was launched using an all-employee email sent by the organisation’s chief executive officer (CEO). This provided a link to the online page where employees could book financial coaching sessions.

Simon Rogerson, CEO at Octopus Group, said: “We work with thousands of financial advisers and see first-hand the massive value they bring to their clients. We wanted our whole team to have access to that same kind of support. However, it’s typically not commercially viable for advisers to offer a full financial planning service to younger adults, who haven’t yet built up larger amounts of wealth.

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“We looked at lots of new technology-based solutions. None were able to recreate the necessary level of empathy that [is achieved] from speaking to a person face-to-face. Also, they tended to focus on a specific product areas, savings, investments, pension, protection or mortgages, which doesn’t tally with how people think about their lives or goals.

“When [an organisation] we invested in a few years ago came to us with their new innovation, Hatch, we knew it was the best solution. Their financial coaches are able to fully understand the employees’ needs. They then use Hatch’s unique technology to build holistic financial plans at a cost employees are very happy with. Pension advice vouchers make that cost even more compelling.”