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Automatic enrolment: Five step checklist for trustees

Ref: PN12-33
Thursday 13 December 2012

The Pensions Regulator has published an updated five step action checklist for trustees to help them prepare for automatic enrolment.

The checklist is issued ahead of a dramatic rise in the number of employers due to reach their staging dates, with levels of more than 2,000 a month predicted from January 2014.

If their scheme is to be used for automatic enrolment, it provides trustees with a handy series of steps to follow. This includes making sure that their scheme meets the qualifying criteria, and assessing its suitability against the regulator’s principles and quality features for a good DC scheme.

Charles Counsell, director of employer compliance at the regulator, said:

“While the new duties apply to employers, trustees have an important role to play and need to be aware of the impact of automatic enrolment to their existing scheme members. We want to make sure they have the right information at their fingertips. If their scheme is to be used for automatic enrolment, we encourage trustees to review existing governance standards, and if necessary take action to improve them in line with our DC principles and quality features.”

The checklist highlights five key activities that may involve trustees:

  • Find out if the scheme can be used
  • Review the scheme against the six principles and the quality features of a good DC scheme
  • Review your default investment strategy
  • Examine your administration processes
  • Member communication

Whilst the duty is on the employer to provide the right information to the right individual at the right time, trustees may be asked to fulfil this duty on behalf of an employer. Our employer letter template tool helps employers communicate the changes and minimise the questions received from members.

The updated checklist for trustees follows the regulator’s educational materials aimed at larger employers and their advisers, including interactive tools, detailed guidance and a number of resources outlining the main steps to preparing for auto enrolment.

Editor's notes

  • The Pensions Regulator is the regulator of work-based pension schemes in the UK. We have objectives to: protect members’ benefits; reduce the risk of calls on the Pension Protection Fund (PPF); and to promote, and to improve understanding of, the good administration of work-based pension schemes.
  • The Pensions Regulator published an initial workplace pensions reform checklist for trustees in the summer of 2011. This is an updated version.
  • In the 2008 Pensions Act, and corresponding Northern Ireland legislation, The Pensions Regulator was given a new statutory objective to maximise compliance with employer duties (including the requirement to automatically enrol eligible employees into a qualifying pension provision and pay a minimum contribution) and with certain employment safeguards.
  • Qualifying schemes are pension schemes that satisfy the quality criteria prescribed in the Pensions Act 2008. The criteria establish a minimum standard for the level of contributions made to the scheme or the level of benefit provided.

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