Personal Pension  

Regulator probes 89 firms auto-enrolment conduct

The Pensions Regulator has launched 89 investigations into large employers approaches to automatic enrolment but has yet to use its powers to force firms to offer employees a pension.

In its first report into the initial implementation of automatic enrolment, the Pensions Regulator said the investigations focused on employer readiness, such as communicating with jobholders, in relation to their duties and helping employers to become compliant.

Large employers with 250 workers or more are subject to auto-enrolment between October 2012 and February 2014, medium employers with 50 to 249 workers from April 2014 to April 2015 and small with five to 49 workers, or micro employers with fewer than five workers, from June 2015.

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In March 2013 the regulator started a “proactive exercise” to enable compliance among employers that are affiliated with a larger organisation.

Letters and a follow-up telephone interview were used to communicate with 52 such employers that had staging dates in March 2013.

Forms were also sent out to check that relevant employer records were up to date, the regulator said.

Last year, the regulator warned that employers who fail to comply with their auto-enrolment duties may be subject to statutory notices, penalties or escalating fines.

Furthermore, the pensions regulator said that reported rates from some of the largest employers so far indicate that opt-out rates are less than 10 per cent.

The Department for Work and Pensions will be publishing opt-out rates in the future and is conducting research with around 50 of the largest employers that have staged so far, exploring in-depth their experiences in implementing automatic enrolment.

The findings are due to be published in autumn 2013.