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The opportunities under AE are “fabulous”

Speaking at NEST Live on his auto enrolment experiences, Mr Southern said that he had got involved with auto enrolment because of a moral obligation to clients.

Mr. Southern, whose 15-year-old business has nine employees and £56m under management, also conceded that client retention had been a driving force: “If we don’t give our clients the advice they need, then another IFA might,” he explained.

Mr Southern said that based on information available on the FCA website, he estimated that there are 60 company pension schemes for every IFA: “Do the maths,” he exhorted: “The opportunities are fabulous.”

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Asked by joint presenter, Paul Budgen, central account manager for Nest about the challenges he had faced to date, Mr. Southern said that employer education had been one of the main issues: “It’s been difficult,” he said: “Employers weren’t interested in auto-enrolment, but they are becoming more interested now. They are beginning to get the message.”

Responding to a question by IFA Michael Barr, of Michael Barr & Co in Poulton Le Fylde, about pricing of auto enrolment services, Mr Southern said that some employers did not want to pay IFAs for their assistance and that his advice would be not to waste time talking to such companies: “Talk to other employers,” he said: “The market is huge.”

In summing up, Mr Southern said that the key message for IFAs considering involvement in auto enrolment was to plan early.