Auto enrolment update

17 December 2015
The calm before the storm.

It seems that auto enrolment has been relatively successful so far:

  • Figures from the Pensions Regulator show that since the start of auto enrolment, over 60,000 employers have put more than 5 million members of staff into a workplace pension.
  • Opt-out rates are lower than expected and a handful of employers will have completed their 3 year re-enrolment process by the end of 2015.
  • The adviser and pension provider markets have so far managed to keep up with demand and most employers have fully complied with their auto enrolment duties.
  • But some employers have struggled and have been subject to compliance action.
  • Up to the end of September 2015, more than 3,000 of the Pensions Regulator's powers have been used, including 582 fixed penalty notices of £400 each.

The real challenge will come over the next 2 years or so when around 1.8 million employers reach their staging date.

In that number will be lots of small employers with only a few members of staff. As a result, it's likely that the provider market will contract for these smaller employers as they are not financially viable for some pension providers.

In addition, it's likely that the Regulator will need to use its powers more often as smaller employers are less likely to have access to the advice they will badly need.

In an attempt to help employers, the Department for Work and Pensions has recently started a new education campaign "Don't ignore the workplace pension" to educate employers that they need to give themselves plenty of time to plan for auto enrolment.

So as 2015 draws to a close we can say with some certainty that auto enrolment has been relatively successful. But with so many employers yet to stage, it could just be the calm before the storm.

Sources:

About the author

Jamie Clark

Business Development Manager

A self-confessed 'Pensions Geek', Jamie reads Pensions Acts for breakfast. He's spent the last three years working on automatic enrolment and has talked to hundreds of advisers and employers about how they can best prepare.

Last updated: 18 Dec 2015

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