View more on these topics

Jamie Clark: Mind the auto-enrolment advice gap

The auto-enrolment gap between firms and advisers is widening  

Clark-Jamie-2012-MM-Peach-700.png

Over the last seven years or so (has it really been that long?), I have spoken to thousands of advisers about automatic enrolment.

When I get the chance, I will often ask the room if they are involved, or intend to get involved, in giving help and advice to employers around automatic enrolment. The problem is in a room of, say, 80 advisers, only five or six will raise their hands. And with worrying frequency, in smaller groups of around 20 advisers, no one will raise their hand.

This should not come as a great surprise to anyone in the industry. The automatic enrolment rules are really complicated.

Advisers who want to get involved with employers to advise on automatic enrolment will need to have a fair level of knowledge around the rules and what they mean in practice. They will also need technical support for those questions and queries that they cannot answer themselves. Advisers will need to learn how to deal with corporate clients if they have not done so before – and have the resource to deal any resulting enquiries.

They will also need to work out what advice and services they will provide and how they should be charging for these.

The Government ban on consultancy charging makes these charging issues more difficult and many advisers have taken the decision to not get involved in advice to employers. If they do get enquiries, they may pass these to another adviser – a perfectly reasonable and realistic conclusion.

What all this leads to is a widening gap between the demand for the help which all employers need and the number of advisers who are willing and able to provide that help. Unfortunately, in my experience, this advice gap is starting to look more like an advice chasm.

Some advisers are looking over the edge of the chasm and are recognising the potential opportunity but they also recognise that they will need help and support in developing their corporate proposition.

The good news is that help and support are available from at least some provider firms. But advisers, like employers, will need to prepare by engaging with those providers as soon as possible. From 2014 onwards, when huge numbers of employers reach their staging date, it will be easier for those adviser firms which have already built a robust, profitable corporate proposition to take full advantage of the opportunity.

There are positive signs, with adviser firms being set up to take advantage of the opportunity that automatic enrolment can bring.

With an increasing number of employers reaching staging and fewer advisers in the market, the potential for those adviser firms that can offer a well thought out proposition to employers will be consider-able. For advisers keen to get involved in corporate advice, bridging the advice chasm could take a lot of work. It can only be a good idea to seek any help required to build the foundations.

Jamie Clark is business development manager at Scottish Life 

Recommended

RBS-logo-700x450.jpg

Big week looms for RBS as bank’s future to be decided

A big week looms for Royal Bank of Scotland as Chancellor George Osborne is expected to announce the future of the state-backed bank. Osborne was expected to announce the splitting of the bank into “good” and “bad” banks, with the latter containing up to £50bn of toxic assets on its balance sheet. However, over the […]

Syed-Kamall-700x450.jpg

MEPs warn EU ‘resentment’ of financial services could harm UK influence

UK MEPs are warning EU “resentment” towards the UK financial services industry could hit the influence of non-eurozone countries including Britain. Speaking to the House of Lords EU sub-committee on economic and financial affairs last week, MEPs warned of a fracturing union after the eurozone crisis. More than 70 per cent of UK financial regulation […]

Emma-Napier-MM-Peach-400.jpg

Dealing with the onslaught of platform due diligence

For quite some time now I have been talking to advisers about the amount of confusion I hear from firms in tackling platform due diligence.  Fresh from the stage at our annual conference, FCA technical specialist Rory Percival again reiterated his four stage process guidance for advisers – “do the thinking, make sure it’s robust, […]

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up

Comments

    Leave a comment

    Close

    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

    Email: customerservices@moneymarketing.com