Pensions  

Altmann optimistic on auto-enrolment

Altmann optimistic on auto-enrolment

Pensions minister Baroness Altmann has expressed optimism at how the extension of auto-enrolment to smaller businesses will go.

Speaking at the NAPF’s annual conference, she said the industry was now geared up for the increase in businesses which will stage from January.

It has been claimed that between January 2016 and March 2018, the number of employers reaching their staging date will go up tenfold, reaching an average of more than 100,000 a quarter and then 200,000 in the first few months of 2017.

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Baroness Altmann said: “I think the whole programme has always had challenges and we have managed those challenges really well so far.

“The regulator is alive to those issues and we are completely aware of the capacity issues but we believe that it will all be fine.

“The pension providers have geared up for this big push of new employers coming in. The regulator has got a new website and new material which I think are really good and really engaging.

“I am not pretending this is easy but we want to make it as easy as possible.”

Baroness Altmann also said auto-escalation would be one of the reforms put on the back-burner while auto-enrolment is completed.

She said: “We all know that the auto-enrolment rates right now are inadequate for providing a decent amount of pension.

“We all want people to save more, to have more money in their pension but we are just starting on this process and 1.8m of our employers - more than 95 per cent - have not even started yet.

“If we start talking about huge increases in contributions before they get with the programme we are shooting ourselves in the foot but I think it is right that we ease the contributions up gently.”

Two initiatives Baroness Altmann said would be happening in the near future are a consultation on simplifying guaranteed annuity rates, and the Department for Work and Pensions would be gathering evidence on the need for advice that people living overseas might have.