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  • More than four out of five Employee Benefits Consultants expect to grow or maintain their current levels of business
  • But Brexit and GDPR are major challenges as consultants tackle a growing list of issues                                                                                                                                    

Employee benefit consultants are forecasting market growth despite concerns about major challenges from the introduction of new data regulations and the impact of Brexit, new research1 from MetLife Employee Benefits shows.

Its independent nationwide study found more than two out of five consultants (42%) expect their businesses to grow over the next year and another 41% believe they will at least stand still. Just 13% of those questioned fear their businesses will suffer a slowdown.

The optimism from EBCs is highlighted by figures showing 55% are planning to invest in technology while nearly two out of five (36%) are planning to recruit more staff to help address the growing list of regulatory and economic issues and challenges facing the industry.

Nearly two out of three EBCs (63%) warn that GDPR issues are a major challenge for the industry while 68% highlight the ongoing impact of preparations for the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union by March 31st 2019.

However domestic issues are an even bigger threat, according to EBCs. Around 84% warn the continuing growth of the “gig economy” threatens the provision of benefits as workplaces change while 81% point to the need to adapt benefits to an ageing workforce.

Adrian Matthews, Employee Benefits Director, MetLife UK said: “Employee benefits consultants are admirably resilient in the face of a growing list of challenges as demonstrated by their commitment to grow and maintain their businesses.

“Their optimism is well-founded given the growing engagement by employees with workplace benefits driven by the realisation that employee benefits are playing an increasingly important role in financial planning Our own research* shows growing satisfaction with benefits with 55% of staff saying they value their benefits compared with just 40% in 2015.”

However, EBCs warn that for employees to fully engage with their benefits and for employers to receive the maximum return on their investment there needs to be greater focus on communication – 83% say the value of benefits must be better explained to staff.

Consultants concede they have to do a better job too – 58% admit they should do more to outline the link between increased productivity and employee benefits to employers while 73% say the rising cost of benefits has to be better explained to employers.

The switch to greater use of digital delivery methods and data storage means more effort has to go into protecting data and reassuring staff – around 50% of EBCs believe cyber-security will be a growing issue over the next two years.

MetLife is focused on further enhancing strategic partnerships with leading brokers and Employee Benefit Consultants as it expands its business among large corporates including multi-national clients as well as SMEs.

It has generated significant momentum in the market thanks to a relentless focus on customer needs, innovative propositions, a culture of continuous improvement and a commitment to building strong partnerships and is established as the UK’s third largest Group Life provider by number of schemes it insures3 and the fourth largest Group Income provider.