Employers plan hard sell to buck retirement saving apathy

Apr 19 2007 by Nic Paton Print This Article

Eight out of 10 American employers believe their workers are still not paying enough attention to what they need to save for their retirement. As a result, nearly two thirds are planning a hard sell campaign next year on the benefits of joining a company pension scheme.

A poll of 225 firms by HR firm Buck Consultants has found that more than half of bosses are concerned about the low levels of savings among many Americans and four out of 10 are worried that their staff are not investing in a wide enough range of financial products.

According to Alan Vorchheimer, principal in Buck's retirement consulting practice, many employers are

planning to adopt a more activist approach when it comes to selling and communicating pensions and other retirement savings.

Nearly two-thirds plan to make major changes to their pension plan design next year, he said. Moreover, they also plan to change how the benefits of these plans are communicated, with the express aim of directly engaging workers in their personal retirement planning.

Two thirds of the employers surveyed said they planned to run education programmes on subjects such as the value of investment diversification and retirement planning.

A further seven out of 10 said they already had or intended to introduce auto-enrolment – where workers are automatically opted into their pension – by next year.

Employers overwhelmingly felt an obligation to help workers build up a bigger retirement pot, with eight out of 10 stressing that providing "retirement income adequacy" was among their highest priorities.

The vast majority – some nine out of 10 – said they matched employee contributions and almost all formally reviewed where they invested on a regular basis.

"Plan sponsors recognise simply providing a savings plan, matching contributions and diversified investment choices is not enough to avoid a retirement income crisis for millions of Americans," said Vorchheimer.

"Employers that aggressively engage workers to build secure retirements also create a competitive workforce that achieves higher business goals," he added.