Employee Benefits report for Financial Directors – November 2007

Alan Shipman: New pensions moves emerging
Suzi Lowther Figure out levy a year earlier
Brian Peters: Reservoir funds can keep companies financially nimble

Employer profile
Ensure staff value perks

The impact of benefits on business performance
Crisis on big scale?
Ever keener to connect cost with absence
Make dents in risk

Special report
Bulk out your savings pot

Subscribe to a quarterly print copy of the Employee Benefits Report for Financial Directors

Editor’s Comment

Welcome to the first of our quarterly reports on employee benefits designed to give finance directors an inside edge on perks spending. This publication is brought to you by Employee Benefits, the UK’s leading benefits magazine.

Perks represent a massive outlay for employers, and the aim of this report is to allow you, the FD, to get to grips with the latest information, trends, accounting, tax and legislative changes.†

Benefits – especially pensions and insurances – are closely associated with risk and cost. However, considered implementation can lead to major reductions in employers’ national insurance bills. Over the years, we have seen some employers slash millions of pounds off their salary bills by using benefits, especially for pensions. (See special report)†

This translates to NI savings being redirected towards other business needs, reduce pensions deficits, or be invested in other benefits policies. Frequently the FD is better placed than HR directors to understand the intricacies of tax and legal changes and to brief tax and legal counsel on these. Too often, we have seen HR departments be aware that savings can be made by using tax efficient benefits, but then fail to establish an effective dialogue with their finance colleagues.†

FDs, quite rightly, expect financial rigour behind requests to fund benefits and human resources policies. And there are plenty of research and case studies emerging that demonstrate how employee benefits can play a role in driving up productivity, company profit and shareholder value, while driving down risk and cost. Over the following pages we tease out the business links that will help you to weigh up the pros and cons of offering benefits to your particular workforce.†

Keeping in touch with current trends is especially crucial when the pensions landscape is changing so rapidly. Defined benefits schemes are on the top of the agenda for many FDs, with new solutions being proposed on a regular basis to help them to cope with investment conflicts, deficits, the closing of schemes, the buying out ofmembers and switching to defined contribution schemes. For many, pensions are a millstone but they must be actively managed. Our aim is to flag up how FDs are dealing with pensions, as well as lay out the solutions being offered by a variety of consultants and pensions providers, to help in your evaluation of a full range of employee benefits.

Debi O’Donovan, Editor