Personal Pension  

Reality of auto-enrolment better than expected: Aviva

Reality of auto-enrolment better than expected: Aviva

Businesses have not suffered in the roll-out of auto-enrolment pension schemes, research by Aviva suggested, though the provider’s research has been branded “disappointingly superficial” by one adviser.

When asked how the experience of auto-enrolment has affected their business, employers polled by Aviva said it had been positive, with the most common response from 25 per cent stating that it has modernised their pension scheme.

A further 20 per cent of more than 1,000 private sector employers interviewed by Aviva at the start of 2013 and again at the start of this year believe auto-enrolment has enabled them to provide better pensions for more employees.

Article continues after advert

Furthermore, increased ability to attract and retain staff also feature in the top five effects reported by the businesses surveyed.

However, 16 per cent have also experienced a need to increase the level of specialist guidance given to staff through their human resources and finance departments.

Despite these positive statistics, concerns remain among those firms which have not yet begun auto-enrolment that it will have a more negative impact for them.

The biggest fears of these firms are passing on the cost to customers, limiting the size of salary increases and reducing other benefits that are available to staff.

A total of one in four firms yet to experience auto-enrolment anticipate it having no effect on their business.

Significantly, 93 per cent of 4,000 private sector employees polled who have experienced the auto-enrolment process to date have said that it was straightforward.

However, only 55 per cent of employers who have started this process share the view, falling further to 24 per cent among small firms.

But Richard Ross, director at London-based Chadwicks, said the report was “disappointingly superficial”.

“It seems more aimed at positioning Aviva as champion of workplace pensions than a serious addition to the literature,” he said.

“I can genuinely say that none of the findings or recommendations will raise the slightest flicker in the eyebrow of anyone who has been involved in this marketplace over recent years.”

How many of those experiencing auto-enrolment feel it has been straightforward?

EmployersEmployees
All who have experienced auto-enrolment5593
Small companies (0-49)2494
Medium companies (50-249)5289
Large companies (250+)6494

Adviser View

Simon Webster, managing director at Kent-based Facts and Figures, said: “Anyone who sees any form of news now knows full well that pensions are a huge issue for everyone and that more saving is required - so far, so good.

“My only concern is further legislation to protect the rights of older workers. Managing people out on competency is already challenging so we do not want to get to a position where employers have to stand in for the state even more than already do as a result of auto-enrolment.

ruth.gillbe@ft.com