One in Three Firms “Cutting it Fine” with Auto Enrolment

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For immediate release: Tuesday 21 July 2015

 One in Three Firms “Cutting it Fine” with Auto Enrolment

Of the companies that signed up with workplace pensions provider NOW: Pensions in the second quarter of 2015, nearly a third (32%) completed their application either very close to their staging date or after the deadline had passed.

Of these employers, 19% contacted NOW: Pensions within a month before their staging date while 13% left it until after their staging date had passed.

At the other end of the spectrum however, 30% of firms signed up six months or more ahead of their staging date. Nearly a fifth (16%) took action between one and two months ahead of their staging date, while 6% took action two to three months ahead of staging. A further 16% signed up with NOW: Pensions between three and six months in advance of their auto enrolment deadline.

Months to staging date Q1 2015 Q2 2015
6 or more 32% 30%
3 – 6 14% 16%
2- 3 12% 6%
1-2 16% 16%
Within a month before staging 18% 19%
After staging date 8% 13%

Morten Nilsson, CEO of NOW: Pensions said: “So far this year a good number of employers are planning ahead, but those coming on board early are typically receiving support either from intermediaries or payroll providers. However, our research shows that as time goes by, an increasing number of smaller companies will be navigating auto enrolment without the benefit of an expert guide.

Many could face fines if they are late either through lack of knowledge or because they believe their current provider will accept them, which they may not.”

Research* NOW: Pensions recently conducted with firms yet to stage revealed that over one company in ten (12%) plans to search the market themselves, up from just 4% of firms surveyed in 2014. At the same time, a staggering 84%** of IFAs are concerned that employers lack the knowledge to make informed decisions on the appropriate auto enrolment solution for their employees.

Nilsson continues: “To support these firms, and prevent them making an uninformed decision which could have a long-term impact on the financial security of their employees, pension providers need to be clear about whether they will accept these firms and The Pensions Regulator needs to drive awareness of the high quality providers available.”

For employers that have missed their staging date, NOW: Pensions has put together a simple five step guide to help them get back on track

– Ends –

For further information:

Amy Mankelow
NOW: Pensions
Tel: 0203 640 9075

Notes to editors:

* Research undertaken by BDRC Continental, an award-winning insight agency. Questions were put to 400 UK SMEs (up to and including 250 employees) via BDRC Continental’s monthly Business Opinion Omnibus. 269 of those interviewed are yet to stage. Telephone-based interviews with a nationally representative sample of senior financial decision makers across the UK, weighted by size, region and sector. Fieldwork dates 2nd to 12th March 2015.

**Research conducted online by Defaqto with 248 advisers between 1 June and 19 June 2015.

NOW: Pensions @nowpensions

NOW: Pensions is an independent, multi-employer trust serving thousands of employers and hundreds of thousands of employees from a wide range of sectors.

A subsidiary of one of Europe’s largest pension funds, Danish pension scheme ATP, NOW: Pensions offers a simple and cost effective workplace pension solution direct to employers and via advisers and the payroll sector.

In April 2013, NOW: Pensions became the first master trust to attain the NAPF’s new PQM Ready Standard. The benchmark shows employers that NOW: Pensions is a well governed pension scheme with low charges and good member communications.

In January 2015, NOW: Pensions achieved independent assurance of scheme quality in accordance with the new master trust assurance framework (AAF02/07) introduced by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) in conjunction with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

The NOW: Pension Trustee Directors, whose role is to safeguard the interests of members, comprises well-known industry figures with different areas of expertise:

  • Jocelyn Blackwell, founding partner Dunnett Shaw
  • Christopher Daykin, former Government Actuary
  • John Monks, member of House of Lords and former General Secretary of ETUC and TUC
  • Win Robbins, former Head of European Fixed Income at Barclays Global Investors
  • Nigel Waterson, former Shadow Pensions Minister

Charges are just £1.50 per month administration charge (reduced administration charge of £0.30 – £1.00 to be applied during auto enrolment phasing for lower earners) plus a 0.3% annual product investment management charge, with no hidden charges.

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NOW: Pensions has a good technical infrastructure combined with a pension product suitable for our team. We couldn’t be happier with NOW: Pensions.
Martin Woods,