In 2023, Hargreaves Lansdown are launching Bristol Financial Resilience Action Group, aimed at making Bristol the most financially resilient city in the UK and providing employers with the tools they need to help their employees who are struggling financially. The free initiative brings together employers, from a variety of industries across the city, to work towards a shared vision and mission of ensuring the community they exist in thrives.
The work stems from Hargreaves Lansdown’s leading research into Financial Resilience, our Savings and Resilience Barometer. This analysis scores households up and down the country for their financial resilience across five key areas: controlling their debt, protecting their family, rainy day savings, planning for later life, and investing to make more of their money.
The results show a mixed bag across the nation with, for example, as many as one in three households not having enough cash in the bank to cover three months of their essential spending, and only four in ten households being on track for a moderate retirement income, with a similar proportion with adequate protection for their family if they pass away.
Overall, Bristol stacks up a little better than the nation as a whole but there is huge room for improvement to make us more financially resilient.
When we initially launched the work in January 2022 we posed the question, what can Hargreaves Lansdown do to help? The idea of Bristol Financial Resilience Action Group was born. The initiative encourages employers to sign up to 3 commitments through the action group:
- Financial education for employees: a free financial education guide created by Hargreaves Lansdown providing foundational knowledge distributed amongst colleagues
- A set of 6 internal initiatives: a series of aspirational initiatives we are recommending that employers implement if they do not do so already. These include incentivising pension contributions to 12%, sorting payroll errors within one week, and increasing sick pay above statutory minimum
- Financial resilience webinars: a free course of 12 webinars (one per month) covering financial education ranging from understanding debt, saving for a rainy day, understanding your pension, and investments.
The objective of this initiative is to bring together employers from a range of industries and sectors, utilising each other’s skills and expertise, to raise the overall level of financial resilience in Bristol. This fits with the One City approach, bringing together a range of people, demographics, ideas, motivations, skills, and experience. The programme aims to consolidate the movement towards improved financial resilience in Bristol, and consequently people’s ability to respond to society wide and individual crises.
At the time of writing, 14 employers have signed up, totalling over 15,000 employees in the city. The prerequisite to be part of the programme is to be a Bristol based employer or have a large employee presence in Bristol.
The programme officially launches on the 11 May at Hargreaves Lansdown with Chris Hill, CEO of Hargreaves Lansdown, and Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, speaking before by a series of roundtable discussions. Bristol Financial Resilience Action Group has lofty ambitions to grow, perhaps becoming an accreditation whereby employers can be proud that they have ‘financial resilient employer’ status: signifying they have a commitment both to financial education for their employees but also a series of internal structures that aid their financial resilience.
At a time where we seem to swing from one crisis to another, that inevitably tests our finances, the need for this action group will not diminish. If you are an employer interested in the programme, please complete this form.