Workplace pension provider Smart Pension has launched an employee benefits hub which will help its half a million savers keep hold of more of their hard-earned cash, it has been announced today/Thursday 21 June.
In an unprecedented step, the firm is rolling out its Smart Rewards portal to members signed up to its workplace pension.
The company says the scheme, which includes access to 1,200 discounts on everyday supermarket shopping, retail, health and travel, will have the added advantage of allowing thousands of small and micro firms, that can't currently afford discount benefits packages, to start offering their staff perks for the first time.
Smart Pension head of product Jamie Smith, said: "The cost of employee benefits packages for small firms is prohibitive, and traditionally only accessible for larger companies that can afford the costs by achieving economies of scale".
"By opening this hub to employees simply as part of their existing workplace pension arrangements, employers will be able to compete with larger firms to recruit, engage and retain good staff and improve morale and loyalty."
"It will also help their employees to mitigate the amount they are now saving, for example, into their pension pot for retirement by maximising discounts and financial budgeting via the portal on day-to-day living expenses."
The Smart Rewards portal comes as part of Smart Pension's free-to-employer package and requires a simple login to give staff unlimited access to the savings.
These include discounts of up to six per cent at all major supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, Asda and Lidl. According to the Office for National Statistics, the average family spent £225 a month on supermarket shopping in 2017.
Smith added: "Members could in theory save £150 during the year on supermarket shopping alone, which would help to offset the impact of pension saving on their pay packet. Some households could even end up better off, with more money in their pocket today as well as their financial future being provided for, though their contributions to Smart's market-leading workplace pension".
The discount scheme is ready to roll out straight away. The company expects firms looking to transfer to new providers to view the benefit as a useful incentive – while providing an additional reward for staff.
The longer term aim of the portal is to give members the option of nudging their savings directly into their pension pot.
Smith added: "That is a little further down the line, in 2019, but it is the ultimate aim and could eventually be done online or remotely via the Smart Pension app. The plan is to make saving an integral part of people's everyday lives to ensure better retirement outcomes for our members and their families".
The Smart Rewards portal has been developed in collaboration with employee benefits firm Fizz Benefits.
Launched in 2015, Smart Pension exceeds £4bn in assets under management (AUM) and now serves over one million members and more than 70,000 employers. It is powered by Keystone, Smart’s global savings and investments technology platform.
Aquiline Capital Partners, Barclays, Chrysalis Investments, DWS Group, Fidelity International Strategic Ventures, J.P. Morgan, Legal & General Investment Management, Link Group and Natixis Investment Managers are all investors in Smart Pension.