Over half (56%) of employers are unaware of Pension Wise or the April reforms

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For immediate release: Wednesday 1 April 2015

With less than a week to go before reforms are introduced allowing savers greater flexibility in how they access their pension fund at retirement, over half (56%) of small and medium sized employers admit they have never heard of them or the government’s new Pension Wise guidance service, according to new research* from workplace pensions provider NOW: Pensions.

Of the 400 SMEs surveyed, only a quarter (27%) say they are aware of Pension Wise with a slightly higher percentage (39%) claiming they are aware of the April reforms.

The research comes as government enters its pre-election or “purdah” period when it is forbidden from spending public money on promoting initiatives deemed to be linked to a particular political party. As a result, all publicity around Pension Wise will be scaled back until after the election.

In the general election guidance published by the Cabinet Office yesterday, it states: “New advertising campaigns will in general be postponed and running campaigns closed.”

Looking ahead, over a third of employers (33%) are concerned that the new government will significantly alter workplace pensions legislation.

Morten Nilsson CEO of NOW: Pensions said: “It’s deeply concerning to see such low levels of awareness of these huge pension reforms amongst small and medium sized firms. Many employees will naturally turn to their employers for information on their pension as they near retirement and a large proportion are at risk of being given out of date or inaccurate information.

“For the government to find itself mute during such a critical phase in the roll out of these reforms would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious. Government, regulators and providers all need to do as much as they can to raise awareness of these changes to make sure savers are being offered the right support to take advantage of their options.”

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For further information:

Amy Mankelow
NOW: Pensions
Tel: 020 3640 9075
amy.mankelow@nowpensions.com

Valentina Kristensen
Lansons Communications
Tel: +44 207 566 9720
nowpensions@lansons.com

Notes to editors

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. 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.

NOW: Pensions www.nowpensions.com @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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There is a need for a member-centric solution designed for ease of use with low costs and cutting edge investment strategy, which delivers long term stable returns. ATP's in-house investment capabilities, combined with our novel and innovative… — Lars Rohde, Governor of the National Bank of Denmark and Former CEO of ATP Group
I am backing NOW: Pensions, the ATP project, because I believe it will encourage transparency, low costs and decent returns for millions of British employees. — Nigel Waterson, former Shadow Pensions Minister
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, SALT.agency
NOW: Pensions was attractive to us because the staff were very helpful and they sent over all the information required. This made the decision easy. — Metro Surveillance Group Ltd
I've known ATP for many years and have enormous respect for the effectiveness of their investment strategy. I'm convinced that NOW: Pensions can become a major player in the UK and look forward to being a part of that success. — Chris Daykin, the former Government Actuary