Research: 2018 UK Pension Strategy Survey

Willis Towers Watson has looked at what organisations are planning for their benefits strategy in 2019 and beyond.

The survey examines three key areas: emerging developments in benefits strategy and how employers are supporting broader financial wellbeing; employers’ strategies for defined contribution (DC) provision; and changes to plan design in defined benefit (DB) schemes still open to future accrual.

Key findings

  • For four-in-10 employers cost control is a key priority: organisations are typically looking to reshape their benefits within their existing spend, while a third of organisations report adding financial wellbeing programmes is a top priority.
  • Three-in-10 organisations are looking to increase employee choice and flexibility with their benefits.
  • With regard to DC pension schemes, there is growing appeal of master trusts. There are also signs of increasing flexibility with what employees can do with employer’s pension contributions. Furthermore, almost 60 per cent of organisations are looking to review their at-retirement support.
  • Around one third of DB schemes currently open to accrual expect to close to accrual over the next three years. Strong themes in this area continue to be reducing risks and costs, while many employers are willing to make concessions to their plan design.
  • Financial wellbeing programmes will continue to increase in popularity, while employers will also consider adding alternative savings products to the benefits package if they already have flexibility in pension contributions.

This Willis Towers Watson report captures the views of nearly 200 benefits professionals.