‘Police list of AE providers’: NAPF

A proposal to publish a list of auto-enrolment schemes and providers is to be welcomed, but would need extra safeguards, a senior official for the National Association of Pension Funds has warned.

Richard Wilson, NAPF policy lead for defined contribution pensions, welcomed proposals made in a seven-page consultation document put out by The Pensions Regulator, Helping Small and Micro Employers Identify a Pension Scheme for Automatic Enrolment, to publish a list online of schemes directly available to any employer.

The regulator proposed that the list should sit alongside generic educational material about the market.

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In a letter to the regulator, Mr Wilson said: “The NAPF supports the proposal for a list of schemes and providers to be directly available to all employers, but believes it is essential the list is implemented and maintained effectively.”

He added: “The list does need to be policed to ensure that schemes are maintaining their commitment to accept all employers, and are able to cope with the level of take-up they are receiving.”

He said The Pensions Regulator needed to provide more clarity on how its oversight of the list would work, particularly if the list included contract-based schemes which it did not regulate itself.

The proposed list would include the name of the pension scheme and a phone number or web link which an employer could use to find out more.

Mr Wilson also called for greater transparency on any fees that schemes may charge employers, suggesting that the regulator could highlight where they existed, and make it clear that schemes should be transparent about them on their websites. He also argued that schemes which had attained Pension Quality Mark Ready standards should be able to display this on the list.

“Quality should not be ignored,” he said.

Adviser view

Phillip Bray, marketing manager for Nottinghamshire-based Investment Sense, said: “The list is in theory a very good thing, but the implementation could be more complicated.”