View more on these topics

Employers hit with first auto-enrolment escalating penalties

It was only a matter of time before The Pensions Regulator (TPR) started to issue escalating penalty notices, and that time has come. In its latest compliance and enforcement bulletin1, it lays out the powers it has used so far:

tpr-compliance copy

These figures should come as no surprise to anyone in the corporate market and there is no doubt that they will continue to increase, quarter by quarter.

What’s especially useful about looking through these bulletins though is that they give an indication of where employers are tripping up and where they might need help. The bulletin identifies, for example, that lots of small employers (and by that we mean fewer than 50 workers) are aware that they have to do something and are getting advice. But many of these employers are approaching their accountant or bookkeeper for advice, and unfortunately it’s those two groups who have the lowest auto-enrolment awareness level among intermediaries.

According to TPR, employers are failing to understand that they have to give information to people who won’t be auto-enrolled and let them join if they want. Backing this up, TPR cites a case where an employer assumed they didn’t have any duties because their workers are all low paid. In another case, they talk about another employer who thought the pension scheme would calculate and deduct all the contributions for them.

It’s clear then that while many employers are complying with their duties, there are some who are struggling. And with more than 1.3 million more employers due to stage over the next three years1, that means a lot more will be struggling. Talks about the ‘capacity crunch’ have been going on for years, but it’s only in 2016 that the threat will really crystallise. The industry will of course create new solutions and TPR is bravely attempting to help smaller employers by proposing an auto-enrolment assessment system to work with the HMRC’s basic PAYE. But if the latest TPR bulletin is anything to go by, I predict they will also be beefing up their compliance and enforcement team to deal with a probable exponential increase in breaches.

‘Auto Enrolment Compliance and Enforcement’ Quarterly Bulletin, 1 Jan–31 March 2015


FCA interior logo 620x430

Regulators fine Barclays £1.5bn for Forex failings

The FCA has fined Barclays £284.4m for Forex failings – the largest financial penalty ever imposed by the regulator or its predecessor. Barclays has agreed to pay a total of £1.5bn in fines after reaching settlements with a number of US regulators. The bank has also agreed to plead guilty to a violation of US anti-trust […]


Leeds Building Society loosens interest-only criteria

Leeds Building Society has loosened its interest-only criteria and now lends up to 75 per cent LTV on a part and part basis. Previously, the lender offered interest-only mortgages to a maximum LTV of 50 per cent. Now, however, it will lend to 75 per cent LTV, with a maximum of 50 per cent LTV […]


Nick Eatock: Does your business need an office?

Do you remember Reginald Perrin from the 1970s TV comedy? He was the stressed executive whose excuses for being late every morning from his suburban home ranged from the mundane to the ridiculous (“22 minutes late, badger ate a junction box at New Malden”). These days, many businesses can operate very successfully without requiring their […]

Directors, limited liability partners and auto-enrolment

By Jim Grant, Senior Product Insight & Technical Support Analyst 6 April 2016 brought in changes to employer duties for directors and partners in limited liability partnerships. Here we explain exactly what’s changed. Before 6 April 2016… Directors of limited liability companies where there were no other directors or employees were exempt from the employer […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


There is one comment at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. The irony is, that for most advisory companies, there is very little if any profit within normal charging structures for dealing with Auto Enrolment for small companies. So either those companies are going to face major problems, or they will pay more substantial fee’s (on a per employee basis) than maybe they anticipate. If you then add in them being in a “rush” because of escalating fines from TPR, it wouldn’t surprise me to see quite a few firms liquidating because of this.

Leave a comment


Why register with Money Marketing ?

Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

Money Marketing Events
Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

Research and insight
Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

Have your say
Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

Register now

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm