Regulation  

TPR urges advisers to help employers with AE

Advisers need to step up and help tens of thousands of small and micro-employers who are due to be auto-enrolled in the next 12 to 18 months, the Pensions Regulator has said.

The Pensions Regulator has published findings from last autumn which revealed that a third of 132 IFAs interviewed said their main area of business was individuals.

Only 7 per cent said employers comprised the main bulk of their business. However, 60 per cent of the advisers interviewed reported they worked with both individuals and small businesses. Of the latter, they said the majority of their business clients were small employers, those with between five and 49 employees. Around 13 per cent said most of their business clients were micro-employers.

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The regulator said most intermediaries understand the automatic enrolment duties and have higher levels of detailed knowledge than in spring 2013. The findings revealed that the vast majority of intermediaries are at least aware of auto-enrolment.

While most IFAs, accountants and payroll administrators are planning to, or are already helping their clients, bookkeepers and HR professionals are less involved, TPR said.

Charles Counsell, TPR’s executive director of automatic enrolment, said: “Tens of thousands of small and micro employers will be automatically enrolling their workers from next summer and advisers need to step up and get ready - the clock is ticking for them. These findings show we are moving in the right direction but more must be done if employers are to get the support they need.

“It is encouraging to see the vast majority of advisers have a good awareness and understanding of automatic enrolment. We are also pleased to see that most IFAs, accountants and payroll administrators are helping or planning to help their clients meet their duties and now we want to see this echoed among bookkeepers and HR professionals as well.

“The Pensions Regulator is urging advisers to talk to their clients to find out what they will need and to make it clear what services they will offer.”

However, last year, pensions minister Steve Webb said the auto-enrolment regime has been set up such that “nobody has to pay for advice”.

Speaking at the launch of the Scottish Widows UK Pensions Retirement Report 2013 in June, Mr Webb said: “

“Why do they need advice?

“If they want to pay for advice and wish to pay for advice and do something better and different then that’s fine, but nobody has to pay for advice and we need to make sure that people who do this in an unadvised way get good outcomes.”