By Daniel Hunter
The government should increase tax breaks for firms which offer financial planning courses to employees, according to the boss of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisation.
Nigel Green, chief executive of the deVere Group, believes this incentive is particularly important now that auto-enrolment is being rolled out and the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) has been implemented.
Currently, companies can only claim £150 per person per year.
“Financial planning, undoubtedly, helps people achieve - and often exceed - their financial objectives," Mr Green said.
"Therefore, not only does it benefit the individual and their families, but it will also benefit the State as those who are financially secure are less likely to be dependent — which is essential for Britain’s long-term competitiveness and economic growth as it faces the ongoing and growing challenges of an ageing population.
“As such, the more people who are financially literate, the better. Arguably the best place to deliver the message that financial planning brings real rewards is in the workplace, as it’s a familiar environment and people can discuss the issues with colleagues and a professional adviser.
“Clearly, it’s not an employer’s responsibility to inform and educate their staff on financial matters, but those who do offer courses should be incentivised with a greater level of tax relief.
“To my mind, as millions of workers are being automatically enrolled in company pension schemes for the first time, and as financial advice has been all-but withdrawn from the High Street due to the Financial Services Authority’s RDR project, never has there been a more pressing time to equip UK households with the skills to better protect and increase their money.
“Most people need advice and assistance to adequately plan their financial futures and a little bit of financial education in the workplace would be a step in the right direction."
Last year, the deVere Group also lobbied for financial planning to be taught in secondary schools.
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