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24 June 2022

 A Safe Pair of Hands Charter 

As professionals working in or with the UK Personal Finance Sector: 

1. We acknowledge that as our services often involve the application of specialist and technical financial knowledge, this places many clients in a position of dependency and as such imposes upon us a greater moral duty to act in their best interests and as a ‘safe pair of hands’ , especially to those who find themselves in vulnerable circumstances. 

2. We accept that our professional obligation to use ‘best endeavours’ and place our clients’ interests above our commercial interests have a greater significance to clients who are in vulnerable circumstances and, therefore, at greater risk of detriment. 

3. We recognise that vulnerability can manifest itself in either physical, mental or emotional form (knowingly or otherwise), is dynamic in nature (short lived or longer term, sometimes permanent, transient, recurring or fluctuating over time) and may be hidden. 

4. When working with clients who seek to access our services, we treat all fairly, regardless of their identity, age, gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, gender reassignment, religion or belief, and guard against making assumptions about individuals. 

5. We believe that language and terminology is important. Vulnerability relates to circumstances and not a category of person. As such, descriptions such as ‘those in vulnerable circumstances’ should be used at all times instead of ‘vulnerable individuals’, except when only referring to individuals or groups of individuals where vulnerability is permanent. 

6. We recognise that people in vulnerable circumstances are often unaware of their vulnerability and, if they are aware, might not acknowledge it nor wish to be described as vulnerable. We, therefore, accept our heightened professional obligations towards clients in vulnerable circumstances; and the need for raised awareness, greater sensitivity, and additional technical competencies. 

7. We seek to recognise clients in vulnerable circumstances and encourage all to self-declare if appropriate, safe in the knowledge that we will:

a. adapt our business processes and professional services, so our clients do not suffer detriment at any point as we seek to deliver outcomes at least as good as for those who are not in vulnerable circumstances 

b. maintain confidentiality and ensure our behaviours are fully compliant with all relevant legislation including The Equality Act (2010), Consumer Protection regulations, The Mental Capacity Act 2005 and data protection including GDPR. 

c. We see application of the above as ‘business as usual’, part of our raison d’être and not part of a separate compliance or ‘stand-alone’ exercise. 

8. We seek to enable all members of our organisations to deal compassionately, empathetically and effectively with those in vulnerable circumstances by raising awareness of vulnerability and by providing training to all within our organisations in appropriate methods of engagement and the effective discharge of our professional services. 

9. When we encounter clients in vulnerable circumstances and recognise that they may be in immediate danger of significant abuse or harm, or may need immediate support, we will take action to contact the appropriate authorities to mitigate the risks they face. 

We are committed to helping our clients through challenging and difficult financial situations, if you are affected and would like to speak to us please call: 0208 189 6100 or email: [email protected]

1 June 2022

Every month one of our team at Corinthian Benefits answers a question from an employer, or employee, seeking clarity on pensions and benefits. If you have something to ask our team, submit your question to [email protected]

As an employer, I am seeing the costs of everything go through the roof. For my business to survive, I do need to keep and attract great talent. Can employee benefits help and can I afford them?

So – are employee benefits worth the investment?

When you are a business owner, one thing that you won’t want to have to do is spend too much money on something that you may not think are a worthwhile investment. You may not always need many things when it comes to running a successful business, but there are also equally some things that are 100% must-haves.

A great team working for you is just one example of this. For your business to survive, especially in a competitive world, you need the right people working for you, which means that you need to find a way to attract the best talent to your business.

There are several ways that you can do this. However, one that you should never underestimate is employee benefits.

So, why are employee benefits worth the investment, and can you really afford them?

The perks of having employee benefits

The first thing that we need to look at, is what exactly are the advantages of having employee benefits on others within your business? Of course, the main reason has to be that it rewards those staff members who work so hard for your company.

For you as the employer, it helps you to appeal to the best talent out there on the job market. When you show that you care about the people who work for you, then those looking for the best place to work will want to work with you.

Not only this, but when they start to work for you and know that these great employee benefits will continue, they are much more likely to want to stay with you, meaning that you retain your staff.

Can I afford it?

The next question is whether or not you can afford to pay out for employee benefits. The answer to this is yes. However, you may want to be able to work this out for yourself.

Look at it this way. The cost of recruitment is enormous, not only the obvious costs but also those you may not always think about. This applies to what you need to pay out to bring in the potential candidates and what you may lose in the staff member ready to move on to something new.

They are likely to take time off to head to interviews for new jobs, but they also may feel unmotivated and dis-engaged whilst they work and, therefore, be less productive.

If you are not sure whether or not this is a cost you can pay out, then why not come and see us here at Corinthian? We have put together our very own staff turnover calculator which is designed to weigh up the cost of employee benefits against the real impact of having them in place.

We hope that it shows you that not only are employee benefits something that you should do but also that they will be much more cost-effective than you may realise.

If you want help, please don’t hesitate to email: [email protected], or call: 0208 189 6100

17 February 2022

In April 2022 National Insurance contributions will increase as part of the Governments plans to resuscitate the NHS post Covid-19. The 1.25% rise in contributions has been labelled the Health and Social Care Levy and is forecast to raise an additional £11.4bn in revenue for the NHS and social care.

But how will this increase affect employees? And what are the benefits, or lack of, for salary exchange schemes?     

What is salary exchange?

Salary Exchange schemes allow employees to use some of their gross salary (before tax) to pay for a number of approved benefits – including childcare, pensions, cycle to work schemes and low emission vehicles. Certain benefits come with additional caveats; for example, if a car emits more than 75g/km CO2 then they are taxed as a benefit in kind and exchange schemes must not reduce an employee’s cash earnings below the National Minimum Wage (More information can be found on the website here). 

What do the April changes mean? 

Currently employees pay NICs at 12% for income between £184 and £967 per week. Everything over £967 is at 2%. This is increasing to 13.25% and 3.25% respectively. 

It isn’t just employees who will be affected by the rate change. The Employers contribution rate will also rise from 13.8% for income over £170 per week to 15.05%.  

In simple terms someone earning the average basic rate salary of £24,100 will pay £180 a year more whilst the average higher rate earner on £67,100 will pay £715 more. 

What are the negative sides to salary exchange?

A lower salary can also affect future entitlements to things like maternity or paternity pay, some state allowances and potentially, mortgage applications. 

Other employee benefits linked to your salary (such as life insurance) may be affected. 

Your employer or benefit provider should be able to explain the effects based on your personal circumstances. 

What can you do about the increase?

Unfortunately, nothing can be done to avoid the increase as it is implicated by Parliament and applies to everyone who is paid a salary. Even Directors who pay themselves in dividends will be affected as the rate on dividends taken is also due to rise. 

Whilst you can’t avoid the increase the best way to counter it is to look at using your gross salary to its maximum effect.  

Whilst you can’t avoid the increase this could be the time to consider using a salary exchange scheme towards an electric or plug-in hybrid car with lower emissions (under 50g/km) that fall into the ultra-low vehicle tax bands introduced in 2021. 

If you would like to discuss any aspect of salary exchange and employee benefits we would be happy to hear from you. 

*Referred to as salary sacrifice by HMRC 

14 January 2022

In this article we look at getting your ducks in a row for 2022, reducing your employee turnover and keeping the employees you need (and want).

So, here we are in 2022. You’ve had time to reflect, reset and plan for the future, and so (I would think) has your workforce. For many business owners over the last 12 months, the term ‘The Great Resignation’ will have rung true, causing increased stress on management and pressure on the remaining team and – spoiler alert – the great resignation isn’t over yet.

In Part 1 of our The Great Resignation series we covered ‘How to Measure Staff Turnover’ and ‘Why it Happens’. (If you missed this you can catch up on it here).

How to reduce costs and keep the people you want and need.

Refine your hiring process

  • Get things right from the start. That means putting in the time and effort to filter out unsuitable candidates and meet the ones worth your time.
  • Define the role clearly, along with the skills and attributes you want from the ideal candidate.
  • Have an objective basis for assessment of candidates. This will help you get better candidates more consistently and enable you to outsource some of the work, giving you more time back.
  • Use appropriate tests or roleplays to gauge their competencies.
  • Ask the candidates that you do meet open questions, rather than closed‘yes/no’ questions, so you can learn more about them.
  • Have a robust exit interview. This may sound odd under “hiring” but theanswers you get will help you improve your recruitment process.

Provide professional development

For many companies today, investing in your employees can mean the difference between a good or great company. When you invest in your employees and their growth and development in their chosen profession, not only does it make them more valuable within the company, but it also adds long-term value to the organisation itself.

While it may seem like an obvious strategy, many companies overlook the importance of investing in their employees. According to a recent Bersin by Deloitte survey, the number one reason why employees leave an organisation is due to a lack of professional growth or advancement opportunities.

The same survey states that 56% of all respondents would take a lower salary to work for an employer that offered greater career development opportunities. If you’re serious about retaining your staff, then consider providing opportunities for your current employees to grow within your organisation.

One way of doing this is to offer training and certification programs, for many of which there are grants available. This will not only allow your employees to develop their skills and increase their proficiency but also help them become more valuable and marketable in the industry.

Recognition and rewards

If your employees don’t feel valued, they will look for opportunities where they are appreciated and their work is valued. Rewarding your employees for their successes can go a long way in reducing staff turnover.

When an employee has been successful at something and you reward them with a small incentive, it reinforces that you value what they do for the company. It shows them that you appreciate their efforts and that you recognise how much time and effort they put into their work. It also gives them the recognition they deserve – something that many employees say they want more of from their employers.

Rewards don’t have to be expensive, but even a small amount of money goes a long way in making someone feel appreciated. You don’t have to create large bonuses for high performers; even giving some time off with pay can have a positive effect on morale by showing your appreciation for a job well done.

Provide work-life balance

It is important to understand what working life is like for your employees. People do not do their best work when they are under stress.

Take the time to ensure your employees’ workload is manageable. Something as trivial as encouraging staff to take their full lunch break is another way to help maintain a healthy balance.

Think seriously about company culture

Now is certainly not the time to abandon any focus on wellbeing, mental health and, ultimately, cultivating a culture of kindness. That’s kindness to ourselves and kindness to each another. When in a competitive job market, where you’re trying to attract and retain the best talent, businesses need to take a holistic approach to staff wellbeing.

Many of the factors that affect our wellbeing are beyond our control. How we think about ourselves, our relationships with others and even the weather can all have an effect. You can’t change these factors, but you can influence how your team members feel when they arrive at work. Where appropriate, employees may appreciate flexible hours or opportunities for remote working, for example.

It is also worth thinking about how you communicate information. Emailing announcements to line managers to pass on can be effective. But it can also lead to uneven spread of information, mixed messaging and alienate more junior staff. Think about which approach best fits your business and do not discount insourcing for specialist projects.

What will it cost if you get it wrong?

The “raw” costs of staff turnover, which we can calculate for your business with our ‘Staff Turnover Calculator’ is straight forward. However, there are also significant hidden costs that can impact your business. They include:

  • Increased absenteeism
  • Reduced commitment leading to less input/lower production
  • Higher levels of long-term sickness
  • Older staff unable to leave the workplace due to financial instability
  • An inability to attract the calibre of staff needed by your business

Generally, we find the costs associated with addressing this proactively are much less than the costs of retrospectively repairing the damage done.

A degree of staff turnover is inevitable and healthy when you find the right balance. Accurately tracking your staff turnover rate is the first step to finding the right balance. It will also help you understand your employees’ experience of working for you.

If your staff turnover is higher than expected, don’t take it personally. Try to unpick why employees are leaving and spot any trends. There is always a myriad of other issues to manage in a small business, but ultimately, these small positive steps will guide your journey to improved staff retention, lower costs and greater profitability.

Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to” – Sir Richard Branson.

If you’re interested in finding out the ‘real cost’ of your staff turnover and you’ve not yet used our simple ‘Staff Turnover Calculator’, which can show you the actual cost of staff turnover to your business, then please feel free to reach out to me so I can share this with you.

Finally, if you’ve not got your Happy Employee Report yet, click the link below.

Get your Happy Employee Report here today.

30 November 2021

We have a range of tools to help you address staff turnover.

Many will not cost you a penny, but could save you thousands of pounds.

Read part one of our two part series on Staff turnover, with our latest article “Let’s talk about The Great Resignation” available now!

22 October 2021

(S)Caring Employers are introducing new benefits to support their employees’ wellbeing.

Health plans can provide a whole range of affordable benefits.

The options for your employees are freakishly good!

19 August 2021

The summer months seem to be passing by quickly, along with the promised August heatwave!

I have pleasure in attaching our August Insights Newsletter and delighted to share some interesting articles provided by our friends at Supportis, Stockdales and Scottish Widows.

If you have an article, or short blog that you would like to feature in our Newsletter, please do let us know.

In the meantime, we hope you have an enjoyable remainder of the summer.

Corinthian Insights Newsletter – August 2021

16 July 2021

I have pleasure in attaching our July Insights Newsletter and delighted to share some interesting articles provided by our friends at Beaufort Financial, Fleet Evolution and Pink Spaghetti.

As ever, should you have anything you wish to discuss please let us know.

Corinthian Insights Newsletter – July 2021

30 June 2021

Well wow! We didn’t expect this! To be shortlisted for not one but THREE Corporate Adviser Awards is brilliant – what a result.

This is a prestigious, industry-wide recognition of the highest professional standards and innovation demonstrated by the whole Corinthian family.

We are shortlisted for the following #CorporateAdviser awards:
🏆 Best Pension Adviser

🏆 Best Health & Wellbeing Solution

🏆 Corporate Adviser Firm of the Year

Dust off your posh frocks, because the winners in each category will be revealed at Corporate Adviser’s annual awards ceremony at the Marriott Grosvenor Square in November.  THANK YOU to all our team members who made this happen!

I hope that you, your family and colleagues remain safe and well.  It seems impossible that we are halfway through the year!

I am delighted to attach our June 2021 Corinthian Bulletin, please do take a few minutes to have a read about our latest updates, from new colleagues we have welcomed through to a sneak preview of our new look Corinthian and some good news stories.

Should you have any questions or comments from this please do let us know.

Corinthian Bulletin June 2021