Articles - Friends Life launches its Corporate Platform


 Friends Life has launched its Corporate Platform. The online workplace savings platform offering a pension, cash and stocks and shares ISAs, and investment accounts is now available to employers. The platform provides an easy to access, flexible system offering both information and educational support tools, in an employer approved environment.

 Known to members as 'My Money', the new platform allows employers to offer both a pension and non pension savings in one place, tailoring benefit packages to enable employees to save in the way most relevant to their life stage, whether repaying student debt, saving for a property deposit or building long term wealth.

 The platform can be tailored to individual employer needs through bespoke pricing, proposition and branding options, allowing products and funds to be selected to suit scheme needs. Management information available from the platform will include an aggregated scheme overview, an overview of investments held, take up of the default option (the underlying investment option used where members don't make their own decision regarding investment of their funds), a full membership profile and online member activity summary, enabling ongoing management of scheme benefits to allow the best return on investment and to aid good scheme governance.

 The platform aims to engage employees far more in their savings needs and combat the apathy and inertia towards pensions which was revealed in the recent Friends Life Visions of Britain 2020 report "Pensions: The Root Problem". This report showed that nearly a third (32%) of those in employment were not saving for a pension whilst 87% felt it was up to their boss to provide a good pension.

 The Corporate Platform will enable members to:

 See all their workplace financial benefits in one place and get a clearer picture of their overall finances based on savings and debts;
 Apply for financial products from Friends Life including cash and Stocks & Shares ISA and other investment accounts;
 Forecast what their savings could be worth in the future based on their current value, their own contributions and contributions from their employer or government;
 Understand the impact of changes to pension contribution levels on future retirement income;
 Set up or amend payments directly from their salary or bank account;
 View payments and transactions online, switch funds and redirect future payments;
 Assess their risk profile and what types of funds might suit them best;
 Track funds and investments, analyse their performance and look at detailed comparisons;
 Understand the value of benefits provided by their employer.

 Commenting on the launch of the platform, Colin Williams, Managing Director of Corporate Benefits at Friends Life, said:

 "The Friends Life Corporate Platform uses new technologies to meet the challenges of regulation, a changing workplace and tough economy. The value of pensions as a benefit often goes unrecognised by employees who have different generational attitudes and priorities when it comes to saving. Workplace savings have been left behind high street banking when it comes to new technologies, but it's now time to catch up and make long term saving accessible, understandable and relevant.

 "Our new platform will challenge the traditional lack of engagement by employees in future financial planning by enabling employers to offer pensions, ISAs and investment accounts through an easy to use interactive online service. Employees will gain choice and flexibility over their benefit savings, encouraging self reliance and personal management of financial needs. Employers will be able to tailor the benefits package they offer to suit their employees, working with advisers to analyse usage and take-up, and create a bespoke offering that is used and appreciated."

 Friends Life expects its Corporate Platform to be popular with larger employers who offer more sophisticated benefits packages and employers who wish to differentiate themselves in the eyes of their employees. The first employers to sign up to Friends Life's Corporate Platform are currently being set up, ready to commence in February once initial communications to employees have taken place. Employers adopting the platform will be supported by the Friends Life educational team who will provide face to face presentations, individual meetings and web-casts.

 Screenshots of 'My money' are available to download at http://www.flickr.com/photos/friendsimages.

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