Mental health is the biggest concern for asset management firms, according to a new ‘Benchmarking and Insights Report’ from Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing (Howden), and two in three firms offer specific initiatives to support mental health.
Physical wellbeing is of equal importance; however, the report showed that just 35% of firms ranked financial wellbeing as a priority.
The research was conducted with 174 companies within the asset management industry of different sizes – small firms with less than 20 employees; mid-sized firms between 20-99 employees and large firms with 100 plus employees.
Other key findings included:
- Addressing stress and resilience were pressing concerns across all organisations, and the number one priority in large firms.
- In mid-sized and small firms, ensuring a good work-life balance is the top priority.
- Other important wellbeing areas are sleep, ranked third by large firms, along with nutrition, physical inactivity and musculoskeletal issues.
- 57% of asset management firms do not currently use benefits technology but are considering using it in the future.
- 16% offer a discounts portal and 16% have a flexible benefits platform.
- Face-to-face presentations are the top preferred employee benefits communication channel.
- Most companies lack a dedicated communications budget – which is a missed opportunity to ensure staff fully utilise and appreciate benefits.
Private Medical Insurance (PMI) and Risk Benefits
- All firms offer PMI as standard to all staff; but 72% offer PMI to staff and dependents, reducing employee stress and anxiety related to family healthcare needs.
- 20% of firms offer both UK and international PMI, which is becoming more common.
- Majority of firms expect PMI costs to increase by 10%, but the reality is this is expected to increase by 25-30% for a standard renewal.
- 97% offer life insurance, 86% income protection, but only 28% critical illness cover.
Robbie Weston, Executive Director, Asset Management at Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing said: “Asset management employees are highly skilled and expect high quality benefits. Our report shows that firms are increasingly aware of their employees’ wellbeing and mental health and the effect it can have on their performance, the culture and the overall employee experience.
“It is also interesting to note that PMI is a standard offering to all employees across firms; however, PMI alone does not provide comprehensive cover in times of need and in times of hardship. Employee benefits, such as critical illness cover and income protection, can play a major role in strengthening benefits packages. Despite this, financial wellbeing seems to be the least important concern, with greater emphasis placed on mental and physical wellbeing.
“It’s good news that more companies offer mental health support. Some though may assume their mental health provision is well catered for by PMI, but this is most often used to treat conditions rather than prevent symptoms. Companies should continue to invest in preventative care and ensure they communicate their benefits effectively to maximise support for staff.”
Robbie outlines five key benefit trends for asset management firms in 2024:
- Mental health is the area of most concern and firms will be looking for solutions in 2024 to continue supporting their staff in this critical area.
- Increasing numbers will adopt benefits technology to support a better employee experience and increase engagement with their benefits package. This goes hand in hand with improving communications.
- More firms to offer an International PMI (iPMI) solution to their globally mobile employees. Having both a UK domestic and iPMI solution ensures firms can offer employees the most relevant medical insurance for their requirements.
- Providing additional support outside of insured medical benefits in key areas such as menopause, mental health and private GPs will be on the rise.
- Increasingly firms will be looking to provide benefits that “look and feel” like they are provided by larger companies while their employment comes with the advantages of working in a smaller or mid-sized company.
Robbie Weston adds: “Employers continue to demonstrate a commitment to providing comprehensive benefits packages to their employees. Our report reveals that asset management firms provide significantly better benefits than many other companies, although smaller firms with lower headcounts, may not offer the same range of benefits and or communicate in the same way as their larger peers.
“Most companies don’t have a communications budget. This could be an area for improvement across the sector as having a dedicated budget for communicating their benefits would help to ensure staff fully utilise and appreciate them. As the war for talent continues, firms are focusing more on the employee experience they offer and the tools they use to communicate the reward and benefit programmes. Without a proactive approach though, firms run the risk of their benefits being their best kept secret.”
To read the Benchmarking and Insights report in full, click here.
Howden has developed a range of benefits designed specifically for new or growing asset management firms. It includes all the core benefits with the added opportunity to access the market for dental, travel and other benefits. This unique offering gives start-ups the chance to match the benefits provided by their larger competitors.