A third of Asset Management Firms to increase investment in employee wellbeing

Asset management firms are to step up their focus on employee wellbeing to support their staff post-pandemic, according to a new research report, ‘Employee Benefits & Wellbeing in the Asset Management Sector’, from Howden Employee Benefits and Wellbeing.

Howden surveyed over 160 asset management firms to benchmark their current employee benefits, wellbeing and reward programmes, investigate their plans and find out if their existing benefits are still fit for purpose given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The research found asset management firms typically offer a rich range of employee benefits with highly valued benefits such as Private Medical Insurance (PMI) included in most packages.

The top three benefits were PMI - offered by 99% of firms, Life Insurance (88%) and Income Protection (73%). Other popular benefits were Cycle to Work schemes (59%), Dental Insurance (43%) and Critical illness cover (36%). 

Howden says the research highlights that benefits offered by asset management firms are more generous than in other sectors, and the benefits provision expected by staff, even in very small firms, is very high.

When it comes to Group Income Protection, the income paid to employees who are unable to work long-term as the result of an illness or injury, the level of protection was unsurprisingly more generous in larger firms. However, the impact of losing a member of staff to long-term illness is likely to be more severe in a small firm than in a larger one who will have great ability to flex its workforce.

Robbie Weston, Executive Director, Asset Management and Workplace Savings at Howden says, “Key observations from our research are that employees in the sector have rich and comprehensive benefits packages particularly when compared with employees in other industries. They expect high quality and comprehensive benefits as part of their overall remuneration package.”

Strikingly, the survey highlighted a major disconnect between the high value insurance products provided to employees in the sector and the fact that most firms do not have a formal wellbeing strategy in place.  

88% have no formal wellbeing strategy in place, with over a third (35%) saying they plan to address this and create a wellbeing strategy in the next twelve months. Employee mental health and building resilience were identified as the key priorities as firms plan to return to the workplace post-lockdown.  

The survey also found most firms are taking a reactive rather than preventative approach to mental health. The number one provision for employee mental health support is through Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs), a confidential support service, but Howden points such services are typically underutilised.

Interestingly, half of firms do not collect any data on benefit satisfaction levels, which means they may not know which benefits are used or most valued by staff.

Howden recommends that companies regularly collect feedback on the benefits satisfaction and engagement levels as without these insights, they could be investing in benefits which are not used or valued.

Weston concludes, “While the asset management industry clearly invests in high value benefits for their staff, many have been overlooking employee wellbeing. There is a recognition that employees will need greater support for their physical and mental wellbeing post-pandemic and a third of firms plan to step up their wellbeing programmes.’’

‘’In response to this survey Howden has launched a specialist service to help firms create and implement a comprehensive wellbeing strategy, tailored to the unique needs of their workforce. This service can provide essential support to asset management firms in readiness for September, when we expect most staff to return to the workplace.’’

A copy of the findings can be downloaded here.