Friends comes top in Greenwich corporate pensions ratings
Friends Life, BlackRock and Zurich Corporate Savings have been named as Quality Leaders in DC corporate pensions by Greenwich Associates.
Friends Life received the highest ratings for overall quality from 18 corporate benefit consultants interviewed by Greenwich Associates, followed by BlackRock and Zurich Corporate Savings.
The research identified a trend towards consultancies looking to switch to remuneration models that take a percentage of assets under management for ongoing investment advice. Because of this, consultancies are attaching an increasing importance to the provider’s ability to accommodate the bespoking of default funds, says Greenwich Associates.
Greenwich Associates asked corporate benefit consultants to rate bundled pension providers on 22 investment, administration and client servicing proposition criteria.
Nearly all of the corporate benefit consultants interviewed by Greenwich Associates said the bulk of their DC assets under advice are in bundled, contract-based arrangements and they expect this to grow going forward as a proportion of total DC assets.
Consultants also said they thought the outlook for corporate platforms and workplace savings is bright, anticipating significant demand for such solutions and among larger employers in particular.
The research says benefit consultants are increasingly tending to recommend bespoke default funds that offer members a blended exposure to a number of underlying funds. Consultants with the investment capability to advise on such solutions are positioning this as a key value-adding service, it says.
Marc Haynes, principal at Greenwich Consultants says: “Of increasing importance is providers’ flexibility in being able to accommodate consultancies desire to offer investment services on a bespoke basis, such as blended funds.”
“As to the effect of future regulatory changes, the view was that large players, with the flexibility to offer a variety of different fee models, would be the ones who will win out post-RDR. Some consultants already operate on an RDR-ready basis. The big change is that some consultants are seeking an alternative revenue structure by taking a percentage of assets under management for ongoing investment advice.”
Colin Williams, managing director of corporate benefits at Friends Life says: “We’re delighted that Friends Life’s pension proposition has received this accolade, on the back of independent research from top consultants. Gaining industry recognition for the quality of service offered by the new Friends Life brand means a great deal, it’s a value that is central to how we do business.”