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Advisers help drive success of automatic enrolment

Ref: PN16-34
Thursday 14 July 2016

Awareness and understanding of automatic enrolment is now almost universal amongst business advisers – and more than nine out of 10 are now helping clients meet their duties, the latest research shows.

Workplace pensions are becoming business as usual across the UK, with employers confident they can comply and the majority of advisers having now been approached by employers.

The research – based on surveys carried out between February and April 2016 – also shows that understanding amongst small employers saw a significant rise from 68% to 81%.

View the employers' research and intermediaries' research.

Executive Director of Automatic Enrolment Charles Counsell said:

“Advisers are not just ready to support their clients with automatic enrolment, but have been doing so on a daily basis for some months.

“More than 9 in 10 small employers are now aware of automatic enrolment, and there is now almost universal engagement from business advisers helping their clients to carry out their duties.

“This is the first employers’ survey since large numbers of small and micro employers have began to visit TPR’s website for help in meeting their duties. It’s great to see such positive feedback, with 79% of the employers who used our website finding all or most of what they needed.”

Other key findings from employers’ survey

  • Understanding remained largely unchanged for micro employers, rising from 56% to 60%, while small employers saw a significant increase from 68% to 81%.
  • Direct communications from TPR continued to be the main catalyst for employers to start preparing for automatic enrolment. Of those employers who stated that both TPR direct communications and advertising prompted action, nearly two thirds stated the advertising encouraged them to look again at the direct communications.
  • The vast majority (90%) of employers continued to express confidence in future compliance with automatic enrolment (93% in Autumn 2015).
  • The majority of employers continued to have positive perceptions of workplace pensions. However, automatic enrolment was still more likely to be perceived as a challenge among micro employers than among small employers.

Key findings from intermediaries’ survey

  • Between 84-94% of all intermediary types had been approached by clients regarding automatic enrolment services; this contact was perceived to be mostly prompted by direct communications from TPR.
  • Familiarity with TPR remained at a high level this wave for all intermediary types and TPR’s website remains popular – 90% of intermediaries had visited the website.
  • Most intermediaries either had faced, or expected to face, challenges when responding to clients and offering automatic enrolment services. Around half of accountants, bookkeepers and payroll administrators continued to feel ‘partially’ able to answer clients’ queries.
  • There remained significant differences in the specific types of services offered by intermediary types.

This is the second survey in a row that advisers have shown such high levels of understanding and activity and as a result this will be our last intermediaries’ awareness survey. We will continue to work closely with professional bodies and closely monitor the impact of our communications to advisers.

Editor's notes

  1. TPR has an ongoing process of reviewing the effectiveness of its communications to employers, both direct and indirect, to ensure it meets the needs of the different audiences affected by automatic enrolment.
  2. The Spring 2016 Employers’ survey wave comprised 593 telephone interviews conducted from February to April 2016, among small employers (with between 5 and 29 employees) and micro employers (with between 1 and 4 employees).
  3. The Spring Intermediaries’ survey comprised a telephone survey of intermediaries operating in the UK, with 420 interviews conducted in total. Accountants, IFAs, bookkeepers and payroll administrators were interviewed between February and April 2016.
  4. TPR is the regulator of work-based pension schemes in the UK. Our statutory objectives are: to protect members’ benefits; to reduce the risk of calls on the Pension Protection Fund (PPF); to promote, and to improve understanding of, the good administration of work-based pension schemes; to maximise employer compliance with automatic enrolment duties; and to minimise any adverse impact on the sustainable growth of an employer (in relation to the exercise of the regulator’s functions under Part 3 of the Pensions Act 2004 only).

Press contacts

Rebecca Sandles 01273 811870

Ciara Bridge-Butler 01273 662 018