Pensions & employee benefits roundup - January 2017

Gareth Davies, 10 January 2017

“No thanks, I’m going to skip the roast turkey and the Queen’s speech and go for a run instead,” is an expression you won’t hear very often on Christmas Day. Perhaps a gentle stroll on Christmas morning is the extent of the amount of activity many of us will have had. Because to many of us, the Christmas period is a time to relax, sit back with friends and family to enjoy a fair amount of food and drinks.

Research from the British Heart Foundation found that a third of Brits do no exercise at all throughout December and collectively we put on 19.5 million stone over this period. Now that number may make us take stock. It is also alarming that the research also found that just over one million people who already had an exercise regime won’t actually get back into the swing of it until February.

We can turn to New Year’s resolutions and so many of us will have started 2017 with various good intentions – this could be to get fit, eat healthy, save more, pay off debt, spend more time with family and friends, etc. Research from the University of Toronto found that a quarter of resolutions will be abandoned by the end of the first week of the New Year. Professor Peter Herman of the University of Toronto suggests that people should set themselves modest goals which are far more manageable and, crucially, sustainable.


Throughout the month our research team keep a close eye on what is happening in the pensions and employee benefits industries. Here is a roundup of the best news articles and stories for December 2016.

Scottish Widows launches The Future of Employment Report
Scottish Widows, 1 December

Following the launch of its thinktank the Centre for Modern Family (CMF), Scottish Widows launched its report, The Future of Employment, analysing what the future holds for the UK’s families.

14% of organisations expect salaries to be reduced if Article 50 is triggered
Employee Benefits, 5 December

According to research from Jobsite, 14% of HR decision-makers predict that their organisation will have to reduce employees’ salaries if Article 50 is triggered to begin Brexit proceedings.

'Tough' year for final salary pensions
BBC, 8 December

Conditions for final-salary pension schemes will be "tough" in 2017, a review of the sector suggests by the Pension Protection Fund (PPF), with many simply "treading water".

Two in five people forced to give up work before planned retirement age
The Actuary, 8 December

It has been found that 38% of retirees are forced to give up work before their planned retirement age, according to research by Aegon.

Purple book data reveals that smaller schemes are exposed to greater risk
Pensions World, 8 December

Following the publication of the 2016 Purple Book, Capita commented how this contains further evidence that larger defined benefit pension schemes continue to engage in risk management activities more quickly than smaller schemes who continue to be exposed to greater risk.

Six million workers need more help with pension transfers, according to Royal London
Retirement Planner, 11 December

Royal London, which also called for government rules and regulations to be updated to help this group, has published Five good reasons to transfer out your company pension … and five good reasons not to.

Government launches auto-enrolment review
Corporate Adviser, 12 December

The level of the charge cap and the challenge of engaging multiple jobholders and the self-employed with pension saving will form part of a Government review of automatic enrolment review.

One in five workers ‘forced to use holidays’ to attend funerals
Business Matters, 12 December

Nearly one in five employees have been forced to use their annual leave entitlement or take unpaid leave to attend funerals of family members or friends, according to new research.

One fifth of employers will cut staff pensions to fund auto-enrolment, DWP finds
CIPD, 13 December

Around one in five of British companies will cut pensions for their existing staff to make up for the financial strain of auto-enrolment, the Department for Work and Pension (DWP) has revealed.

ONS reports that total pay increases by 2.5%
ONS, 14 December

Average weekly earnings for employees increased by 2.5% including bonuses and by 2.6% excluding bonuses compared with a year earlier.

More than 7 million workers now auto-enrolled – Pension Regulator
Retirement Planner, 14 December

The number of new people saving for retirement as a result of auto-enrolment has passed the seven million-mark, the latest monthly figures from the Pension Regulator have shown.

31% of employers are aware of the new tax-free childcare scheme
Employee Benefits, 14 December

Less than a third (31%) of employer respondents are aware of the new tax-free childcare scheme due to come into effect from early 2017, according to research by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Over two thirds of employers think absenteeism is a growing issue for their business
Fresh Business Thinking, 14 December

More than two thirds (68%) of employers believe that absenteeism is a growing issue for their business, according to research by Legal & General. Only 8% of those employers surveyed said they would never treat absenteeism as a threat to their business. 

Three in ten will not seek advice about DB transfers
Professional Pensions, 15 December

Nearly half (45%) of defined benefit (DB) members approaching retirement do not feel informed enough to decide whether to transfer their pension, according to a report published by LV=.

New statistics reveal nations overindulgence over Christmas
British Heart Foundation, 15 December

Brits will spend a nearly 10 billion hours sitting down over the festive period this December, and put on an incredible 19.5 million stone this month, according to new British Heart Foundation statistics.

Government consults on new financial guidance body
Retirement Planner, 19 December

The government has opened a consultation on a single financial guidance body to be created following the scrapping of the Money Advice Service (MAS), The Pension Advice Service (TPAS) and Pension Wise in this year’s budget. 

Global pension gap at ‘crisis’ $100trn
The Actuary, 20 December

The difference between the present value of yearly lifetime income needed for a reasonable standard of living, and the actual amount saved for retirement, is now at an estimated $100trn (£81trn) worldwide, according to The Geneva Association.

Flexible hours key to working longer, says new report, 22 December

The British Social Attitudes Survey found 47% of workers said they would work longer before retiring if their employer were to offer more flexible hours.


How to achieve your New Year's resolutions
Daily Mail, 28 December

From losing weight to quitting smoking, each December people around the world vow to stick to their New Year's resolutions. But studies have shown that despite our best efforts, a quarter of resolutions will be abandoned by the end of the first week of the New Year.

New calls for state pension payouts to be made available at earlier age
Express, 28 December

Two out of five people favour overhauling the state pension so that it could be taken at an earlier age, albeit at a reduced rate, according to a survey carried out by Aegon.

Eight in 10 middle-aged adults ‘unhealthy’
Health Insurance Daily, 28 December

Eight out of 10 middle-aged people either weigh too much, drink too much or do not exercise enough, according to an analysis from Public Health England (PHE).

About the author

Gareth Davies Head of Research and Engagement

Gareth Davies

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