Staff unenthused by corporate platforms

The majority of employees are unenthusiastic about workplace savings platforms, according to research by The Platforum.

For example, between just 5% and 10% of respondents have signed up for an Individual savings account (Isa) through their employer, preferring to source financial products from banks and building societies.

The research, the Workplace savings platform guide, which will be published on 27 September, found that providers are very motivated about workplace savings platforms, while advisers are quite excited, with 32% having already reviewed the market and a further 46% planning to do so over the next 24 months.

Almost half (39%) of employer respondents will have something, which aggregates their financial benefits this year, with 31% planning to review corporate platforms over the next 24 months, according to the research, which was unveiled at Employee Benefits Live on 25 September.

Mark Polson, founder of adviser, The Lang Cat, with which the research is in association, said: “Employees are absolutely saying ‘speak to the hand, we’re really, really not into this’.

“Those of us that are interested in this sector, who are building propositions, have a big hearts’ and minds’ job to do. What is it about them, other than the fact we built them and they’re dead shiny, makes people want to engage with them, because that’s a big challenge?”

Polson added that communication about the rates of workplace savings products is key to helping employees understand their value and save through their employer.

He explained: “Cash Isas are massive and can be offered through these platforms, yet people aren’t choosing to divert from their bank or their building society into their employer’s one. Why is that? Maybe it’s the rate, which won’t be mentioned in the best-buy tables at the back of the Daily Mail, which is where a lot of people get their comparative information.”

But he added that the overriding determinant of employee engagement in workplace savings platforms would be employers’ commitment. “How motivated are employers? Do they care enough to do this and what are the upsides to doing it?

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“This is a very, very young market; it’s only a year to a year and a half old and there’s lots of money being spent and lots of new ideas coming out.

“But all the theory and development, and all the insight and research will always come back to the same thing: Do you have a highly-motivated employer, who wants to make sure their employees have the right information at the right time to make the right decisions?”