There are about as many definitions of corporate wrap as there are financial services business models, but one thing is certain - after years of research, design and considerable capital spend, a new generation of employee benefit platforms is here. Not everybody planning to enter the market is up and running yet, and those that are freely admit what they offer will evolve. But we have reached a point where the range of platform solutions available to employers and intermediaries has reached a critical mass.
Choice of corporate wrap and benefits platform will have a major bearing on the employee and employer experience. But decisions made in the coming months will also have long term strategic consequences for intermediary businesses. Many questions remain. How will benefits platforms sit within the regulatory framework? How will employees respond to the offerings put before them? How will these new services be paid for? What effect will new technology solutions have on the range of benefits selected? How much appetite is there over the long term for wrap propositions in the workplace that offer functionality akin to that in the individual wrap market?
For those that get it right, the prize will be great. If, as many expect, a decade from now we get to a stage where employees are consolidating all their financial services products on their workplace benefits platform, those controlling that new environment stand to gain much.
It is with this in mind that we have teamed up with F&TRC to bring you these ratings at this time. The research is designed to help advisers understand what is available, what it does and how its performance compares with other offerings in the field across a wide range of criteria. For ease of reading, the results are broken into three categories, benefit consultant platforms, those offered by software providers and life office propositions, but all groups are judged by identical criteria.
Thanks to all those who gave their time to assist F&TRC with the gathering of data for the survey, and to those who were not yet ready, we hope you will participate with future surveys to come in 2011.
But most importantly, congratulations to those whose propositions stood up to F&TRC’s exacting rating process and achieved a top-ranking triple E ranking.
John Greenwood, Editor