Auto-enrolment update – The calm before the storm

By Jamie Clark, Business Development Manager

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.
  • 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 two 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 is 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 with 2015 behind us, 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:

  • Automatic Enrolment Compliance and Enforcement: Quarterly bulletin 1 July – 30 September 2015, October 2015, The Pensions Regulator
  • Workie says: 'Don't ignore the workplace pension', 21 October 2015, The Pensions Regulator