More workers asking managers for pension advice

29 September 2014 -


Staffers increasingly looking to employers to provide steers on financial planning for life after work, says survey

Matt Packer

Growing numbers of employees are going to their bosses for advice on retirement planning, according to latest research by Baring Asset Management. The firm’s annual survey found that 9% of workers – equivalent to around 3.4 million people – are most likely to look to management figures in their workplace to help piece together their retirement strategies – that’s up from 7% in 2013 and 3% in 2010.

Significantly, while 52% said it was their own responsibility to ensure they fully understood their pension fund’s asset allocation, and 23% relied on their pension provider for those details, 13% felt it was their employer’s responsibility to provide the necessary information.

In terms of where employees are most likely to go to for advice on asset allocation for their retirement planning, the most popular choice, consistent with last year’s poll, remains an independent financial adviser (IFA) with 26% of respondents – the equivalent of 9.5 million people – and up significantly from one in five (21%) in 2013.  Around one in seven people (16%), however, said that they rely on family and friends, an increase from 12% in 2013, while 14% said they use their bank or building society.

Turning to where employees are most likely to go to for specific advice on asset location the most popular choice, consistent with Barings’ 2013 poll, emerged as independent financial advisers (IFAs). They were favoured by 26% of respondents – up five points on last year.

Barings head of UK wholesale distribution Rob Aldridge said: “It is unsurprising to see that people still rely on their employer, given the significant focus on auto-enrolment over the past year. As a key ‘touch point’, our place of work is clearly becoming more relevant when it comes to financial and retirement planning.”

He added: “Connected to this, it is also very encouraging that IFAs continue to be key, as the importance of independent advice remains fundamental to effective financial provision in retirement. Whether engaged by the employer or by the consumer directly, the role of the independent intermediaries should continue to grow.”

According to the survey, 20% of respondents do all their financial planning themselves – down slightly from 21% in last year’s poll. Almost a quarter 24% said they had chosen their fund allocations themselves when they last reviewed their pension plans, while two thirds 65% either did not know whether they had chosen the funds themselves, or selected the default option.

Aldridge explained: “Retirement planning is so important for our future well-being and peace of mind that getting proper financial advice is paramount. It is vital that people take more responsibility for their own financial affairs while at the same time seeking the support and advice of independent professionals, whether this is via the workplace or elsewhere.”

For more on these issues, check out the details on CMI’s Checklist guide Managing Finance.

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