Posts by Chris

Chris Roberts

From previous blogs, I have made it clear that Auto-Enrolment was in urgent need of a firm hand.  With the abject failure to strongly police Stakeholder, I have watched the regulatory position with interest.

The recent high profile case of Swindon Town FC (the Robins) has brought this sharply into focus.  Whilst not every case merits (or gets) this level of attention, there have been 6,746 separate cases of regulator intervention in auto-enrolment cases to 31st December 2015.  These range from over 1,000 fixed penalty notices being served (at £400 each), to 21 inspections of premises taking place (the tanks very much on the lawn).  With 100,000 employers enrolling each month, these numbers are going to increase significantly as we work through the micro-employer enrolment process. Read more »

Chris Roberts

It is pretty much impossible to log onto my Twitter account at the moment without seeing a blog or commentary regarding master trust saturation and the need for more regulation.  Whilst immediately wishing to blame others for the deluge on my twitter feed, these articles resonate with me and are providing useful industry insight.

When reflecting on this point I looked back on a previous blog and noted some wise market commentators did foresee this:

http://www.spenceandpartners.co.uk/archives/should-nest-say-tata-to-atp-for-now/

(Obviously, I only hark back to the blogs where I was correct and not those that fall wide of the mark, but that is my artistic license!)

It is now widely reported that there are between 70 and 100 master trusts operating within the UK. Read more »

Chris Roberts

2015 is a landmark year for the auto enrolment process.  The 3rd anniversary for early adopters means the first tranche of re-enrolment processes will begin.  With this in mind I have been considering how the process has developed for larger companies and the issues facing the smaller companies reaching their statutory deadlines.

The Regulator has published statistics surrounding key auto enrolment goals.  The opt out ratio expectation has been reduced from 30% to 15% based on the experience to date.  We are also advised that 99% of Employers have managed the process without the need for intervention.  The initial Regulator study suggested it had only exercised its enforcement powers in 14 instances.  However, a subsequent report confirms that 160 employers have been issued with the fixed penalty notices.  It is clear that the larger employers have engaged in the process and using the path of least resistance approach, the membership has increased.  Without wanting to temper enthusiasm it was never likely that large organisations would pose significant auto enrolment issues.  These businesses will have specialists to guide them through the process.  In addition their workforce will in the majority already have had access to a suitable workplace pension vehicle. Read more »

Chris Roberts

As our company has expanded, along with my waistline, I began to wonder if I should use the increased player pool to organise a “friendly” game of inter-company football.

This was 2013, having discussed the potential ramifications and restrictions of such a venture with Human Resources, this was put on ice for some time.  Having had a fairly lengthy Sunday League career the lists of ‘Do Not’s’ appeared rather daunting, and nullified most of my footballing assets.  Fast forward to 2014, as the company expanded further (along with my waistline again!) and the World Cup approached it seemed like time to resurrect it again.

I discussed this with Barnett Waddingham who graciously accepted our challenge, the date was set.  Whilst Brazil prepared to take on Mexico in the Maracana, we limbered up for the battle for pensions supremacy in the footballing world at Powerleague Glasgow.  That does sound like winning best turned out at a donkey derby, but regardless losing was not an option.  Having chosen a day when Glasgow was in fact (an actual, not an exaggerated fact) hotter than the Maracana my inspired managerial decision of kitting the team out in all black to intimidate the opponents a la New Zealand, was met with some resentment.  With the marketing team kindly offering to procure Spence branded salmon pink tops, I am not sure my team fully understood the position. Read more »

Chris Roberts

Recent articles confirming ATP’s attempt to launch a NEST comparative scheme led me to wonder what Federer, Djokovic or our own Andy Murray had to offer workplace pension reform……

On closer inspection (googling “ATP” and ignoring any tennis references) I was led first of all to a promising website called All Tomorrow’s Parties promoting concerts, and other hip cultural events featuring the likes of Portishead and Mogwai, but sadly, with nothing much to say about pensions. Further investigation (adding “pension” to my “ATP” google search) led to the Danish national pension agency, which made a little more sense. 

I must admit when I think of Denmark it brings to mind bacon, the little mermaid, the eponymous pastries and more bacon. Which probably says more about me than it does about Denmark. The Danish ATP (or Arbejdsmarkedet Tillaegspension, as they say in Denmark) runs one of Europe’s largest pension schemes. In 2009 ATP pulled out of the running to provide administration services to what were then described as personal accounts. At the time PADA suggested that providing such services did not fit with ATP’s commercial model. Two years later things have clearly changed.  Read more »

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