The numbers of firms who will have to comply with automatic enrolment regulations has been slashed by up to 480,000 firms.
New figures from the Pensions Regulator shows it expects between 1.32 million and 1.46 million employers will have duties under auto-enrolment rules.
At the same time last year, TPR estimated 1.8 million firms would be in scope.
However, not all these firms will actually have to enrol staff, though they will need to provide information to staff and make a declaration of compliance.
TPR says: “There is little change in the number of employers forecast to have workers that they will need to place into a pension scheme. This remains up to 950,000.”
It adds: “The revision is largely as a result of TPR identifying a large number of single person directors in the summer 2017 stages. The duties do not apply to SPDs, although this may change if they take on other workers.
“TPR identified these employers after obtaining access to real-time information data from HMRC, and also as a result of direct feedback from employers written to about auto-enrolment.”
The annual report also shows 6.1 million people had been automatically enrolled at the end of March. Around 110,000 employers have been through the whole process. TPR says compliance rates among the first group of small and micro employers were at 95 per cent.
TPR executive director for auto-enrolment Charles Counsell says: “The compliance rates achieved have been consistently at the top of our expectations and the savings landscape has been transformed. But we know the job is not yet done and there are still significant challenges ahead.”
The People’s Pension director of policy and market engagement Darren Philp says: “Even with the revised numbers we’ve seen from TPR today, the challenge for those small employers still to stage remains demanding. Auto-enrolment isn’t as easy for small employers as it should be and we know that they need help and support to get it right. The industry has a vital role to play in supporting them with their task.”