Since 2012 BT, in partnership with WEALTH at work, a leading provider of financial education, guidance and advice in the workplace, rolled out a voluntary programme of financial education for its employees to help them plan ahead for retirement.
Since the introduction of the programme, BT has conducted research among its employees who have attended a retirement planning seminar to assess the benefits of a financial education programme.
The results of the research revealed that 68% of employees expressed that they had taken action since attending a seminar including seeking regulated advice. Of these; 20% of employees had brought forward their planned retirement date, 40% increased or started making AVCs (additional voluntary contributions) and 22% started or increased their share plan contributions.
Jonathan Watts-Lay, Director, WEALTH at work, said: “The fact that so many employees went on to take further significant actions after attending a seminar is testament to the powerful effect of financial education.
“It helps employees understand the financial decisions they will face at-retirement, encourages them to think about how much money they will need in retirement and how best to save towards this. As the research demonstrates, financial education has helped a large number of employees realise their retirement goals earlier than they had planned, which is truly life changing for those individuals.”
In fact, the majority of employees (93%) rated the retirement seminars highly (scoring either a four or five on a one-to-five scale), and 90% said that they would recommend the seminar to a colleague.
Watts-Lay said: “It’s great to see that a huge number of employees at BT rated our seminars so positively, and that they had then gone on to recommend them. I believe it further emphasises the need for employers to make financial education a priority.”
Kevin O’Boyle, group head of pensions and benefits, BT, said: “We have worked with WEALTH at work for a number of years, and it has helped us not only to put together and deliver highly engaging seminars, but supported this with an online capability to help BT employees through their decision-making process. This complements our own pensions modelling tool by giving specialist information about relevant issues such as state benefits and capital investment. The research we conducted highlights how much the retirement planning seminars have benefitted our employees financial wellbeing and we hope to continue to build on this in the future.”
Watts-Lay said: “Financial education is the first step in helping employees to understand the advantages and disadvantages of their retirement income options. This should be followed up with regulated advice to provide individual support and personalised recommendations to ensure income in retirement is optimised. Our complete service offering can help ensure employees are fully informed of their options at-retirement and can then take appropriate action; whether they decide to buy an annuity, go into drawdown or simply make cash withdrawals.”