We are standing at the beginning of what feels like a crucial 18 months for corporate wrap. In the past we have seen launches delayed, delivery dates slip by barely noticed and claims of what functionality will be offered developed.
But now corporate wrap providers are gaining momentum and starting to set more definite timetables for roll-out.
For advisers, there are probably still as many questions about what corporate wrap actually is, what it means for clients and their employees, and what it will mean for their own businesses.
How will employers and employees respond? How will corporate wrap sit alongside existing solutions such as flex? How fluid will the arrival of corporate wrap make the existing pensions market? How will intermediaries develop their remuneration models to embrace new technology?
How does the Retail Distribution Review affect the whole process?
The Corporate Wrap Forum covered in this supplement saw a group of intermediary experts attempt to answer some of these questions. We hope that by reading this supplement, published in association with the event’s sponsor, Scottish Widows, you will find that many of the issues have now become clearer, although inevitably fresh complexities have also emerged.
The big overarching question that corporate wrap poses for providers’ and advisers’ businesses is will it do for group pensions and wider benefits packages what Sipps did for individual pensions? All group pensions providers worth their salt are investing large sums in corporate wrap functionality of some sort. For them, corporate wrap is the next big thing. Some will be early to market, others later. Ahead of the curve, in the slipstream of the pioneers or late but lovely, different providers will hope the way they bring their offering to the market will win out.
Nobody knows who will win or lose in the battle for corporate wrap market share, but what is clear is that the sector will be entering new ground as intermediaries and employers decide what they do and don’t like.
Corporate wrap is not cheap to deliver, and for providers the stakes are high. But with a fair wind it could mark the dawn of a new era for employee benefits.
John Greenwood, Editor