Cost and administration of auto-enrolment top the list of employer concerns - Advisers say

Article date: 30 October 2012

  • 81% of advisers name ‘cost and administration’ as key employer concerns.
  • 57% are providing additional support to clients who don’t fully understand the pension reform regulations.
  • 72% report their clients are less than 25% prepared for the pension changes.
  • But two thirds of advisers (67%) say that employee opt-out rates will be less than 30%.

More than three quarters (81%) of corporate advisers say that the cost and administration of auto-enrolment are among employers’ top worries when it comes to the Government’s landmark pension reform, Aviva’s research shows.

Advisers say other employer worries about auto-enrolment include:

  • 67% - the cost of meeting the long-term compliance requirements.
  • 38% - ensuring they have an efficient way of integrating with payroll functions to gather accurate contribution, opt-out, and employee profile data.
  • 33% - putting in place a compliant pension scheme in time for their staging date.

The Aviva research* into the views of corporate advisers in the UK also shows that corporate advisers remain focused on helping their clients understand the new regulations, creating check-lists of what actions they need to take, and liaising with pension providers. More than half of advisers (57%) say they are providing additional support to clients who don’t yet fully understand the new regulations. While 49% say they are helping clients create ballpark costings and a timeline of what they need to do for automatic enrolment, only 23% are actually using tools that can accurately assess the full implications for a business.

Almost half (47%) of advisers are liaising with pension providers to review the best automatic enrolment solutions for their clients, and 19% say they are in constant contact with their clients about every stage of their implementation.

Advisers say the immediate challenge of staging is currently more important for employers than the long-term compliance requirements - understandable as many employers still have some time to go before they stage. Of those corporate advisers asked:

  • Nearly a third (29%) say their clients are assessing their employee base to understand the contribution/pension implications, linking in with payroll.
  • 28% say employers are modelling how automatic enrolment will affect their businesses, including administration, IT infrastructure and costs.
  • 26% say clients are implementing a new or updated pension scheme for all eligible employees.
  • But only 19% of advisers say their employer clients are actively considering the options for the on-going management of compliance monitoring such as tracking employee contributions, opt-outs and eligibility.

Despite the preparations underway, advisers signal that many employers still have a long way to go with automatic enrolment. 72% of advisers feel that their clients are less than a quarter prepared. This includes 28% who say their clients are ‘not at all’ prepared. However, commenting on their own preparations, more than half (56%) of corporate advisers say they are more than 50% prepared.

The vast majority of advisers agree that communication and engagement will play a pivotal role in keeping employees opted-in to their automatic enrolment schemes. 89% of advisers say that communication and engagement is ‘very’ or ‘fairly important’ to keeping employees opted-in. Two thirds of advisers (67%) say that opt-out rates will be less than 30%, with only 13% saying opt-outs will rise to above 50%.

Aviva’s Managing Director of Corporate Benefits, Graham Boffey, said:

“Corporate advisers really play a critical role in supporting employers through the initial challenges of automatic enrolment, and it’s understandable that at this critical stage there are concerns. As well as providing a vital linchpin to pension providers, advisers can help their clients navigate all aspects of automatic enrolment. For that reason, it’s good to see corporate advisers feeling confident about their even if employers still have some way to go.

“We’re recommending employers put aside at least 18 months for their preparations, which includes reviewing schemes in detail, to ensure they are modern, low-cost and fit for purpose. Additionally, meeting the staging requirements is an important first step – but employers and their advisers also need to focus on ensuring they have a robust and efficient compliance process in place to keep track of on-going employee changes and updates.”

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The Aviva corporate adviser survey was conducted online by ICM Research, in September 2012, with 191 UK advisers, all of whom had at least some of their business in the corporate benefits market. The sample was sourced from
Aviva’s auto-enrolment site for advisers is available here:

Notes to editors:

Aviva provides insurance, savings and investment products to 43 million customers worldwide.  We are the UK’s largest insurer with over 14 million customers and one of Europe’s leading providers of life and general insurance. We combine strong life insurance, general insurance and asset management businesses under one powerful brand. We are committed to serving our customers well in order to build a stronger, sustainable business, which makes a positive contribution to society, and for which our people are proud to work.

We are ranked as one of the UK’s top ten most valuable brands and Aviva Plc are in the top 10% of socially responsible companies globally in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.  In 2011 we invested £5.3m into our UK communities. One in three of our employees were involved in community investment activities which included giving nearly 33,000 hours. Aviva is working in partnership with Railway Children through the Aviva Street to School programme to get children living or working on UK streets back into everyday life.

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