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Auto-enrolment schemes may need rewrite, says HL

Cherry Reynard
Written By:
Cherry Reynard

Over 10,000 employers across the UK will start automatically enrolling staff in workplace pension schemes from today, but a leading workplace pension adviser warns that schemes may have to be rewritten to accommodate pension chances announced in the last budget.

Laith Khalaf, head of corporate research at Hargreaves Lansdown, says that this is likely to represent the peak of auto-enrolment activity and early signs have been positive. However, he adds: “Many auto-enrolment schemes will probably have to be adjusted or re-written to accommodate the new pension rules, including the pension freedom announced in the Budget, and the ban on commission payments to advisers.”

Khalaf says that any problems with auto-enrolment are only like to appear from here. Since auto-enrolment started the government has introduced pension freedom, a 0.75% charge cap on the default fund for all schemes and a ban on commission payments to advisers. These could all impact the structure of existing schemes.

Equally, at the moment, opt-out rates are low at around 10%, but these only include those who stop saving in the first month of the scheme. Also, the Pensions Regulator compliance register shows almost 8000 employers could have missed their deadline for introducing a workplace scheme and therefore many employees may be missing out.

Auto-enrolment started in October 2012 and will see workers who don’t already have pension arrangements automatically enrolled into a workplace pension to help them save for their retirement. Individuals can work out whether they will be affected by the new rules by looking at the calculator on the Money Advice Service website.