Standard Life has launched a new range of investments for corporate pension schemes aimed at making it easier for employees to select an investment strategy to suit their individual needs and attitude to risk.
The two new risk-based fund ranges, built on the success of MyFolio, are specifically tailored for the corporate pensions market and introduce new auto-enrolment default options, addressing the challenge of meeting the diverse needs of a workforce
Ann Flynn, Head of Corporate Marketing said: “Over the past two years we have been conducting extensive research with advisers, employers and employees. The employee’s investment choice, and lack of engagement in it, has been an issue the industry has been wrestling with for many years.
“The majority of employees are invested in the default fund and that’s why default strategy needs to be able to meet the diverse needs of a workforce. We’re now excited to be launching a range of investment solutions which addresses this challenge head on.”
Key findings of the research include:
– Employees find a wide range of investment choice confusing however there is still a demand to have some level of choice.
– Employees want a level of risk and return which is right for them but managed by experts.
– Employers simply want better outcomes for their employees within a strong governance framework, with competitive charging and minimal risk.
Flynn added: “Against a backdrop of negative pension stories and turbulent stock markets, employees tend to have a very low tolerance for taking investment risk with their pension and understandably so. However for many, a level of risk is needed to help generate the returns to achieve a decent standard of living in retirement.
“Our new range will help employees identify their attitude to risk through a simple questionnaire and align themselves to a strategy that best fits their needs. The information will be presented in a way that keeps it simple and shows them at a high level what they are investing in. However, they will also be able to ‘look under the bonnet’ if they want to. The risk-based range will be dynamically managed by internal and external experts who will monitor and adjust asset allocation to optimise performance.”
Key features and benefits of the range include two new risk-based ranges, Passive Plus and Active Plus, specifically for the corporate pensions market to complement the MyFolio Managed funds. A new life styling approach allows the underlying funds to be changed as necessary to help future-proof the investments while the Vanguard index-tracking funds, added in December 2011, will complement the BlackRock index-tracking range.
Employees will be able to easily identify their risk appetite and select an investment strategy to meet their needs and risk-based funds will be actively managed to help optimise returns. Moreover, employees will be offered clear options, based on how ‘hands on’ or ‘hands off’ they want to be with their investment selection and the new range provides employers and trustees with the flexibility to support a broad demographic. Advisers will also be able to recommend from an ‘off the shelf’ package of investment funds or design bespoke solutions for their clients.