Your IndustryDec 16 2015

Advisers can help to feather the AE Nest

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Advisers can help to feather the AE Nest

The National Audit Office’s recent report into the progress of auto-enrolment is a welcome reminder of what has been achieved to date. And 5.5m workers are now saving for their retirement thanks to the hard work put in by the government, the regulator, industry professionals and employers.

However, while there are many successes to applaud, few would argue with the NAO’s conclusion that there are still challenges to come. We are only in the foothills of staging small employers. There will be big peaks as 1.8m employers enrol their workers up to 2018. The NAO has suggested the numbers involved would increase pressure on National Employment Savings Trust. Is that true? Yes. Are we ready? Yes. But can we do this alone? No. That is where advisers come in.

In our view, helping small and micro employers meet their duties means seeing things through their eyes. Instead of asking them to read up on pension administration and attend courses on pension compliance, we believe we should modify our approach to fit their needs.

Employers want enrolment to be simple and hassle-free, or to have the ability to pass the administration to someone else so that they can get on with running their business. From the very beginning, we have strived to make Nest straightforward to use. A lot of our employers tell us it takes just 10 minutes a month to make contributions. But we’ve also continued to develope tools and services to make it even more straightforward.

We have evolved our systems in two ways: to help employers self-serve quickly and efficiently, or to allow them to outsource their AE administration cost-effectively.

Although smaller employers may have had less contact with pensions, many deal with payroll in some shape or form. Therefore, we have worked with the payroll industry to understand how pensions and payroll can work better together.

The outcome is a new data integration process known as Nest web services. This lets payroll software-crunch all of the data needed for AE and send it across to Nest at the click of a button. One-click submission of key pension data from their payroll system will cut down on employers’ processing times. And because we have worked with leading payroll software providers, the service should be available to the majority of smaller employers.