Advice for Employers – Overview

TISCO Financial Planning (TISCO) is a firm of Independent Financial Advisers and employee benefits consultants who operate pension schemes and employee benefit arrangements for aspirational UK companies and their employees.

We are a Chartered firm of financial planners. This means we have satisfied rigorous criteria relating to professional qualifications and ethical good practice. It means you can be confident that you are dealing with one of the UK’s leading firms wholly committed to providing you with the best possible advice, service and support.

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We are based in St Albans, Hertfordshire and have a working relationship with clients throughout the UK, albeit the majority are based in London and the South East. Our corporate clients range in size from small family run businesses and start-ups to multi-national SMEs. One of our long term clients is a Sunday Times top 100 company to work for.

Management expertise, commitment and a creative approach to the changing needs of our corporate clients, their employees and directors has been the key to our success.

We specialise in the provision of financial advice in the workplace and the administration of regulatory led employee benefits and workplace pensions.

Our commitment to personal and approachable advice means we aim to meet every employee, from MD to new recruit. This increases understanding and appreciation of the benefits on offer, which in turn increases take-up rates.

Our innovative approach to corporate benefits could save you significant sums each and every year while increasing the monetary benefit to employees. This in turn means we have an extremely high client satisfaction level.

Typically, TISCO would start by conducting a benefit benchmarking exercise on your existing offering and speaking with you about your requirements. In our experience these reasons usually include increasing employee benefits (or at least the value of them), increasing investment options, reducing benefit costs and/or introducing salary sacrifice, increasing employee benefit communication or simply wishing to change your financial advisor.

We would then discuss the level of our services you require, from pension administration and salary sacrifice, to risk re-broking and employee advice. Once agreed, we then recommend a strategy to suit your circumstances and if appointed; work with your HR team and our experienced benefits administration team to ensure a smooth transition and implementation of your strategic benefits plan.

For a free, no obligation consultation, please email us to see how we can help, or call 01727 734040.

Pension Services

TISCO believe a competitive workplace pension scheme is pivotal to any benefits package and our core service is in the provision of corporate workplace pensions or company pension schemes for small to medium sized UK companies. Through our workplace pension services we provide advice on defined benefit schemes for a number of our clients. Although the large majority now run defined contribution pension schemes such as group personal pensions, group stakeholder pensions and increasingly group self invested personal pensions (group SIPPs) and corporate wraps. We also run a number of executive pension plans and bespoke strategies for key personnel and directors where appropriate.

Established in 2000 with the advent of stakeholder pensions we put our success down to personal service and plain speaking advice which is backed up with a comprehensive employee education and benefit communication program. When discussing the benefits on offer, our advisers typically offer to meet with every employee, from the office junior to the Managing Director, and by treating everyone in the same way, high adoption rates on pensions are common. This personal approach leads to a positive impact for the employer which is reflected in staff turnover, training costs, employee retention and the bottom line. Pension auto enrolment obligations may change this dynamic and TISCO has pioneered innovative communication methods (such as iAdviser) to enable value and advice to be delivered on a personal or group basis to employees, at a price that is affordable to employers.

Using tools such as benefit benchmarking, salary sacrifice, risk broking, flexible benefits and employee educational seminars we are able to compare your existing benefits package, if any, with what is available today and advise accordingly.

TISCO also recognise that senior executives and business owners have unique financial needs extending beyond those covered by an employer’s benefits package and have developed a personal financial planning service to reflect this. For more information please see our Business Owners, Directors and Executives section.

For independent pension advice please contact us using the ‘contact us‘ function or call our St Albans office on 01727 734040 to speak with one of our advisers.

Benefit Benchmarking and Pension Review

Our Benefit Benchmarking service allows UK employers to review their benefits to understand how benefits compare against those offered by your peers and competitors. Understandably most companies are reluctant to release information about their own benefit strategy to protect against this very reason. Not only do the headline benefits (pension contributions, private medical etc) ideally need to be equal to or better than your competitors but you also need to ensure the policies themselves are up to date. This means they should be well priced, feature rich and most importantly well communicated to ensure they are appreciated by staff.

TISCO’s benefit benchmarking takes a dual approach and provides our clients and potential clients with up-to-date insights into the employee benefits arena:

  • Through extensive market research we have obtained accurate reflections on themes such as pension contributions, take up rates, levels on wider benefits and the future benefits plans of various business organisations. We have then grouped the results into 17 main industry sectors and arranged the results by company size. The result is that we are able to provide our clients and potential clients with access to a vital source of market knowledge which gives them valuable information on what industry peers are doing and so helps them position themselves appropriately within their market sector.
  • Analyse the specific benefits currently offered to see if they remain competitive with current more modern arrangements. For example: Does the pension scheme pass the qualifying workplace pension test, will it be appropriate for pension auto-enrolment. Also can it offer fund supermarket or full SIPP capability if required, can members utilise the services of a discretionary fund manager should they desire? In addition we look at the tax efficiency of the schemes and advise on whether savings in costs can be made.

If appropriate we then work with our clients to develop an overall strategy which is appropriate when compared to the industry benchmark, affordable within the client budget and which identifies areas for potential change and or cost saving.

For a free, no obligation consultation, please contact us to see how we can help using the ‘contact us’ function, or call 01727 734040.

Employee Engagement and Member Communications

The cost of providing pensions and other benefits to staff can be a significant part of any employers overhead. Spending the money is unavoidable but if an employee does not appreciate the value of those benefits, then some or all of the spend is being wasted.

At Tisco we believe the only way to maximise the value of your benefits spend is to ensure your employees truly understand the nuances of the benefits they are being offered, and in particular, how those benefits will positively affect them personally.

For example; understanding the value of Gym membership is very straightforward for a young gym going individual. Understanding or being interested in the benefits of a pension scheme when you are in your twenties is a rarity.

The solution is in employee engagement and education so that they fully appreciate the benefits. TISCO will help you create and deliver a targeted and appropriate member communications strategy. At Tisco we achieve this “employee engagement” via a number of methods, focussed on what we call workplace marketing. At the core of our service are face to face meetings where each employee has their benefits explained by a qualified independent adviser.

Additionally we utilise some or all of the following:

  • Bespoke employer intranet pages and/or personalised sections of our own website to re-enforce the benefit delivery message.
  • Bespoke website to allow scheme members to log-in and manage their account on-line
  • Branded bespoke benefit brochures
  • Regular adviser surgeries or financial planning education seminars
  • Regular Annual review to confirm fund choice and contribution levels are still on target to reach goals
  • Remote advice service, either over phone or PC if required.

Investment in your employees does not always need to be financial – spend some time on explaining and educating them on what you offer. They will appreciate it, which is why one of our clients had their pension take-up rate almost double once TISCO provided employee seminars

For a free, no obligation consultation, please contact us to see how we can help using the ‘us ‘feature, or call 01727 734040.

Client Case Studies

The following case studies detail the pertinent facts of a recent pension review and new scheme implementation:-

High-end engineering firm based in the West of London.

Project
The firm were looking to implement a pension scheme to provide a wide-range of investment options. Ensure that any policy has compatibility with future auto-enrolment obligations.

Recommendations
With a desire to explore options without committing to costly fees at an early stage, we presented them with a piece of consultancy work providing our advice and recommendations across the board. Happy with our report they then selected the modules they desired.

We negotiated hard on their behalf using our experience and corporate pension connections to secure access to an industry leading pension product.

The results
Using salary sacrifice, the company elected to further enhance employee benefits while retaining base pension costs and also paid for individual meetings for each employee.

With a number of staff posted off-shore we were able to use our innovative IT-led communications to provide head office and field staff with the same level of service.

City of London based brokerage firm.

Project
Investigate the range of workplace pension options available and summarise options and present choices – The client company was open to suggestions on types of pension. Must be auto-enrolment compatible, but wanted consultancy work on a full range of workplace pension options and associated employee communication and employer support services.

Recommendations
A broad range of options were presented providing a range of pension options, from advanced platforms with sweeping options for pension and non-pension investments to more simple offerings focused on low charges and guided investment choices. Recommended the employer bring in-house initial auto-enrolment administration and advised that employees are supported by a combination of group and individual meetings.

The results
The client chose the simple pension option focusing on low charges and guided investment choices. While this would come at the expense of investment choice, the client was comfortable with this and elected a cost-focused plan and instructed us to secure an extremely well priced Group Personal Pension.

For a free, no obligation review of your benefits please contact us at our St Albans office to see how our financial advice and consultancy services can help using the ‘contact us‘ feature, or call 01727 734040.

Workplace Pensions and Pension Auto Enrolment

Pension Auto-enrolment has been the biggest change to workplace pensions in decades as employers have been compelled to put in place a suitable pension, enrol qualifying staff into it automatically and to pay employer contributions as well.

With employer contributions set to treble by April 2019 and 3 year re-enrolments to undertake, pensions continue to demand valuable resources.

TISCO specialise in providing support to employers and employees and have experience of assisting with the following issues

  • Cost management for employer contributions
  • Re-enrolment support – manage it smartly for smooth implementation and compliant outcomes
  • Annual Allowance, Tapered Annual Allowance and Fixed Protection – they are likely impacting your highest paid staff already and not dealing with the issue could cost these staff tens of thousands of pounds in additional tax. Could you help them?
  • Employee Engagement – as employer contributions rise you should look to get the most value from the increased spend. Our employee testimonials and feedback are exemplary.
  • Support existing schemes – You don’t need to change your scheme, perhaps the current one just needs to be supported better.
  • Scheme Switch – If want to make a change, we are independent, work with all the major providers. We have managed the merging of two 4,000 member schemes to create one 8,000 man scheme. We can help you.
  • Bespoke Project work – We can help meet specific needs such as a new influx as a result of an acquisition, help for for those approaching retirement or high-level advice for senior employees provided by Chartered Financial Planners.

New Employers

While most existing employers have undergone auto-enrolment, new employers will need to grasp it’s requirements at a time when there is so much else going on. Ensuring auto-enrolment is undertaken intelligently, appropriately and in a timely manner can save crucial money and avoid fines and regulatory headaches down the line.

If you are a new employer, TISCO can help you understand your legal obligations and provide you with support from the beginning to a compliant end.

If you would like any further help or information on any aspect of our workplace pensions and auto-enrolment services, please use the ‘contact us’ feature, call us on 01727 734040 or feel free to visit us at our St Albans office.

Auto Enrolment – Basic and Key Facts

Employer duties revolve around assessing your staff to categorise them, communicating with them dependent on their category and then, for those who qualify, automatically placing them into a suitable pension.

To qualify, an employee must earn in excess of £10,000 per annum and be over the age of 22 and under their own individual State Retirement Age.

While employees can opt out of the pension, this can only happen after they have been put into the pension. This key feature of auto-enrolment is often misunderstood and has led to companies being fined.

You can postpone putting employees into the pension for up to three months, but this does not change your staging date. Don’t be caught out!

If you would like any further help or information on any aspect of our workplace pensions and auto-enrolment services, please use the ‘contact us’ feature, call us on 01727 734040 or feel free to visit us at our St Albans office.

Employee Benefits

Whilst we at TISCO believe a pension is pivotal to all employee benefits packages, non pension benefits can be equally well received by employees. Effectively any product or service provided by the employer for the benefit of the employee can be described as an employee benefit. Typical non pension benefits are group death in service, group income protection insurance and group private medical insurance.

Group Life Cover Services

Group life cover is one of the most common of all benefits. Providing employees with life cover should the worst happen is neither too expensive nor too complicated. It is, however, extremely valued by employees as they understand the value of providing their family with cover should something happen. The TISCO risk broking service researches the market place to ensure the benefits you have are suitable. While death may be death, group life cover is not simply group life cover. Different companies will not only vary on price, but other important features such as the ‘free cover limit’ – how much cover can your highly paid employees get without need of medical underwriting? We can help you secure the best rate, implement and manage the scheme and offer our annual review service.

Group Private Medical Insurance Services (Group PMI)

While the private medical insurance market has diversified significantly in the past couple of years, the reason for an employer having it hasn’t. Not only do your employees value private medical insurance, but having staff return to work without enduring NHS waiting times can be invaluable. With more providers offering these products with benefits such as a no claims bonus or even free gym membership becoming more common, having TISCO provide you with a fully independent service can pay dividend. As with the group life cover, our risk broking service will ensure that whichever policy is most suitable, we will implement and manage the scheme as well as offering you our annual review service.

Group Income Protection Insurance Services

If an employee has an accident or suffers an illness which prevents them from coming to work they will effectively be long term sick. This can have huge financial implications for the employee and the employer. Protecting against accident and sickness is of obvious benefit to the individual but recent regulatory changes suggest more onus will be put on the employer to help staff members who are long-term sick get back into work. Protecting against this risk will be something all forward thinking employers wish to consider and having a group income protection policy may help militate against this.
As an example, let’s say an employee wants their income protected so they can continue to pay their bills in the event that they are sick or have an accident. The same can be said for the company they work for. Should your company lose your sales director or the finance director, how would you cope? It is vital to implement a contingency plan to help replace lost revenue, as well as meet the costs of replacing a key staff member.

Other common benefits are child care vouchers, financial advice in the workplace, discounted shopping vouchers, critical illness insurance and things like gym membership.

TISCO can provide advice on a full range of non pension benefit services which can be accessed individually or via a flexible benefits system. We are happy to review any existing benefits and re-broke or re-quote if required. Equally we can advise on implementation of new schemes and as independent financial advisers we will select the most appropriate product from the whole of the market place.

For a free, no obligation consultation and review of your existing benefits strategy, or to talk with us about implementing a new one, please contact us to see how we can help, or call 01727 734040.

Flexible Benefits for Employees

The most expensive benefit is an unappreciated benefit. With an increasingly diverse and demanding workforce, selecting the correct benefits for your employees can be hard. So why not let them choose themselves? One employee may have no need for life cover; another may want full medical cover for their family. Why implement benefits for someone who doesn’t need, and therefore doesn’t appreciate them?

Flexible Benefits is the name given to a system allowing each employee to select the benefits that are of most relevance to them from a menu. These choices can change, usually once a year, as the individuals circumstance, age and demographic also change.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that while Flexible Benefits (Flex) are still predominantly the preserve of companies with more than 5000 employees, new systems and technology has brought Flex to the SME sector.

Good organisation and management of “who wants what” is essential and we have close working relations with both an independent company who offer online solutions, and also large insurance companies who can offer in-house flexible benefit administration systems to compliment their group pension offering.

As with all benefits, consultation and education are vital, but if done correctly, flexible benefits can be extremely cost-effective.

For a free, no obligation consultation and discussion on your options please contact us to see how we can help by using the ‘us ‘function, or call 01727 734040.

Workplace NISA

Individual Savings Accounts or ISA’s are tax efficient investment wrappers available to UK investors. The workplace ISA is a relatively new concept allowing businesses to offer their staff an employer promoted ISA, often as part of other employer sponsored benefits.

Employers will not have to pay into the plan (although they can) but will be able to use their own clout to negotiate discounted and preferential terms from the ISA provider, which the employee can take advantage of should they wish.

TISCO offer the True Potential ISA which is embedded into our software and client management systems. Employees are able to apply for the ISA online where the system will determine their attitude to risk and suggest suitable investment strategies for their consideration. Once applied the employee can access their account from any PC or internet enabled device or use the Smartphone and I-phone apps to access valuations and fund information on-line.

Policyholders can switch funds and choose from literally thousands of discounted funds or direct shares.

Please do not hesitate to contact us on 01727 734040 if you would like more information.

Testimonials from Employees

Please find below feedback from employees who met with a TISCO adviser in April 2015.

These employees were in an existing scheme for which TISCO took over employee communications. Employees were met on a one-to-one basis for a non-advised 30 minute guidance session.

50 people were met and 24 responses were gathered.

This represents every un-edited (including typos!) response received.

  • “It was very helpful, gave me a better understand and a good guide on my current postion and where I should be heading long term”

    Employee Communications Testimonial 17
  • “There were some unusual figures in the recent correspondence that I had received about my pension payments and, while the financial advisor couldn’t explain in the short amount of time allotted why this was so exactly, he did offer me more confidence in the scheme and what my options might be when i come to retirement age. For what can be a very complicated process he explained simplistically what the reality of my current scheme is. But I now need to establish with my pension provider why that isn’t reflected in the paperwork that they have sent me which shows my eventually pension pot to be negligible despite 5% contributions a month.”

    Employee Communications Testimonial 16
  • “No problems at all, guidance given was good.”

    Employee Communications Testimonial 15
  • “Very informative and helpful.”

    Employee Communications Testimonial 14
  • “This company provided a better insight than previous companies. They were willing to offer an opinion on fund performance against sector performance and indicated how one could monitor on trustnet.com – most useful information”

    Employee Communications Testimonial 13
  • “It was very useful one-one session with Andreas Hunter of TISCO and he has answered all my questions.”

    Employee Communications Testimonial 12
  • “Very informative and helpful experience.”

    Employee Communications Testimonial 11
  • “A simple and direct approach to pension planning was used and the advice was very helpful. I would highly recommend the service and hope that Tisco Financial Planning and Andreas Hunter in particular is used by COMPANY NAME REMOVED in the future.”

    Employee Communications Testimonial 10
  • “Very useful and informative. It was my first pension meeting and i wish i had had one earlier in my career.”

    Employee Communications Testimonial 9
  • “Not helpful. Although he was supposed to provide advice – he could not provide the sort of advice I wanted, apparently because it would be the sort of advice I would have to pay for!”

    Employee Communications Testimonial 8
  • “A very useful discussion about annuity vs drawdown, and then about contribution levels. Very helpful.”

    Employee Communications Testimonial 7
  • “Found the advisor to be extremely knowledgable and helpful”

    Employee Communications Testimonial 6
  • “Very thorough. Answers all my questions.”

    Employee Communications Testimonial 5
  • “Good experience talking to someone who knew his field”

    Employee Communications Testimonial 4
  • “it was brilliant, the first pension meeting where I actually came away knowing a little more about my pension and how it all works. Andreas explained everything very clearly and gave great comparisons with the normal world talking in language that you can actually understand….please make sure we keep him!”

    Employee Communications Testimonial 3
  • “I was very pleased with my meeting with Andreas Hunter, who went over all the options and their scenarios that were applicable to me, in order to help me to make an informed decision if I choose to do so.”

    Employee Communications Testimonial 2
  • “The adviser was very helpful, personable and knowledgeable. He took to time to make sure all my questions were covered.”

    Employee Communications Testimonial 1

Contact us

Only the UK’s premier financial planning firms qualify for Chartered status. If you wish to know more about how using a Chartered firm can ensure you get the best possible advice, service and support, please do not hesitate to contact us.

TISCO offer clients a continuity of service and personnel which is vital to developing the relationships which benefit our private clients, employers and their employees.

Address:
TISCO Financial Planning Limited,
Morton House,
80A Victoria Street,
St Albans,
Herts,
AL1 3XH

Email:
email@tisco.co.uk

Phone number:
01727 734040

We are open:
Monday – Friday 9 AM – 5:30 PM

Social links:

How to find us

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Based in St Albans, Hertfordshire our team of experienced advisers are able to assist with the full range of financial planning and financial advice services. From corporate services such as comprehensive employee benefits packages, workplace pensions and pension auto-enrolment to individual private client work on investments and trusts, pensions, insurance, inheritance tax planning and mortgages.

This service is provided locally in London, St Albans and the home counties with corporate services being provided nationally to serve the requirements of our clients, who range from individuals to 6,000+ employers.

For more information about us and our financial advice services or to see how we may be able to help please contact us. or call our St Albans office on 01727 734040.

We cover St Albans, Watford, Hertfordshire, Hemel Hempstead, Hatfield, London and the rest of the UK