HR feeling the strain from pensions complaints

  • One in three HR executives have seen a rise in pension complaints
  • Compliance and regulatory concerns worry 35% of HR departments

HR departments are coming under increased pressure from employee concerns about company pension schemes, new research* from employee benefits consultancy Portus shows.

They are facing a combination of increased complaints about pension fund performance as well as increased interest from staff about pension schemes. Portus’s study found one in three HR departments have seen an increase in complaints in the past two years while 28% report increased inquiries from employees.

The rise in pension scheme complaints is starting to worry HR departments – around 35% say they are concerned about possible regulatory or compliance issues for their organisation as a result of pension complaints.

Portus’s nationwide study** among employees highlights the issue – around 19% of staff say they have contacted their employer over the past two years about pension scheme issues with 4% saying they had complained about the performance of their savings.

However employees are generally supportive of the guidance on retirement planning they receive through work – 48% say the services provided by employers are effective with just 15% branding them disappointing.

Portus, which offers the employer-paid moneygym guidance service for employees through employee benefits, believes HR departments need to look for solutions to support employees with retirement planning which can also address compliance risks.

Portus Consulting Commercial Director Steve Watson says:

“HR departments have to some extent been put in the frontline of the push to tackle the UK’s retirement savings crisis and have played a major role in helping to deliver workplace auto-enrolment.


“There is a price for success, unfortunately, and that is a rise in complaints and concern about pension scheme performance from employees which could lead to major problems with compliance and regulatory issues.


“Pension schemes and employee benefits in general are a major part of the total reward package for staff and need to be clearly communicated to employees so that they can plan for their retirement and see the benefits of their own and their employers’ investment.


“Portus’s moneygym – which is accessible at work and at home around the clock – provides guidance on all aspects of retirement planning including tax and regulation as well as enabling users to track retirement savings including private and State pensions and other investments including property.  It aims to increase overall financial literacy levels and employee engagement with retirement planning and help staff to build up enough funds to retire at their target age. Employees can use the portal to outline scenarios on increasing pension contributions, for instance, and the impact on how they decide to take retirement income. They can retain access to the service if they leave their job.  Employees enter and update monthly expenses as well as property ownership or rental costs, debts or savings, and health data including exercise, smoking and alcohol intake. Life expectancy is calculated using the death data run against mortality tables.”



* Research conducted online by Pollright among 103 UK HR professionals between January 3rd and 17th 2017
** Portus Consulting commissioned independent research agency Consumer Intelligence to interview 1,043 UK employees between January 12th and 14th 2017

Author: Editorial Team

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