Portus has launched the first “robo guidance” solution for employees with the expansion of its moneygym service to include a video Virtual Assistant.

The video guidance service – which is accessible at work and at home around the clock – is designed to be as good as a one-to-one meeting for the majority of users. We spoke to Steve Watson, Portus Consulting Commercial Director about what moneygym is and why it can help if independent financial advice is not feasible for your workplace.

What is moneygym and what is the idea behind it? 

Independent financial advice is valuable for some people, but the majority of employees cannot afford it.Financial guidance does not have to be complicated, and it should not involve throwing every aspect of retirement planning at users and leaving it up to them to make complex decisions. The aims of the Virtual Assistant and moneygym are to increase engagement with pensions and other investments, and to enable employees to see all their assets in one place and plan their retirement with everything in view.

Is this employee or employer run? 

moneygym users enter confidential details of their finances including pension savings, other investments and target retirement dates; their information is secure and not accessible by their employer. They can then see their predicted long term income, and model changes to alter the outcome.

It already enables users to track retirement savings including private and State pensions as well as other investments including property. The Virtual Assistant provides guidance on all aspects of retirement planning including tax and regulation, enhancing the service on the award-winning portal.

At Portus we estimate that around 80% of employees will be able to make retirement planning decisions based on the Virtual Assistant guidance, reducing the need for employers to fund advice in the workplace and for employees to pay for advice.

How successful has this been so far? 

It has been purchased by employers for more than 6,000 employees, aims to increase financial literacy levels and employee engagement with retirement planning and help staff to build up enough funds to retire at their target age. Launched as RetirePort, it won Best Use of Technology for Benefits at the 2016 Workplace Savings & Benefits awards.

What stand out features are there? 

The system sends alerts to users when they are close to exceeding annual pension contribution allowances, enabling them to avoid potential tax charges.

Employees can use the portal to outline scenarios on increasing pension contributions, for instance, and the impact on how they decide to take retirement income. They can also retain access to the service if they leave their job.

How are you planning to offer your employees financial advice? Leave a comment below.