NAPF warns on rush into auto-enrolment

The National Association of Pension Funds released findings from its latest research that revealed fears about the rate of change in the industry, including staging dates for small and medium-sized businesses.

It showed that 81 per cent of NAPF members said service was bound to deteriorate due to the rate of change, with 87 per cent pointing the finger at auto-enrolment.

It also found that 85 per cent of members were worried about the abolition of contracting out for defined benefit schemes.

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Joanne Segars, chief executive of NAPF, said: “We and our members have worked hard to shape and deliver effective reforms that bring positive results for pension savers, but this stack of change threatens our members’ ability to continue to deliver business as usual.”

She said NAPF had “welcomed” auto-enrolment and that the intention behind the reform was “to be applauded”. But she added: “In attempting to do so much in such a short period of time we risk not delivering the very best outcomes for workers and savers.

“This is too important to rush. We need to press pause, prioritise what really matters and deliver auto-enrolment effectively.”

Other concerns highlighted in the survey included adherence to new codes of practice for both DB and defined contribution schemes, as well as compliance with the new definition for money purchase schemes.

Key facts

81% believe service levels would deteriorate

77% were concerned about pensions tax relief

59 % were worried about pension liberation requests

Adviser view

Tom Binstead, director of employee benefits for Gloucestershire-based Bank House Corporate, said: “I am concerned that a lot of employers will be forced into the National Employment Savings Trust because providers were unable to offer terms for the majority of businesses staging this year.

“However employers should really have the choice. A lot of stress surrounding the scheme will fall on my head, but Nest will still present more administration problems for businesses if that ends up being the only option.”