Nest employer sign-ups hit 100k, AUM nears £1bn

Nest employer sign-ups hit 100k, AUM nears £1bn

The government-backed pension scheme Nest has signed up employer number 100,000 four years after the auto-enrolment rules were introduced.

This brings the number of its members to more than three million, and the scheme’s assets under management to £870m.

The current opt-out rate is 7 per cent, far below the government’s initial projections of a 20 per cent opt-out rate.

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Many employers have signed up before their staging date, according to a statement from Nest, with the daily volume of sign-ups peaking at 850.

Chief executive Helen Dean said employers were using “a number of implementation routes”, including signing up directly on the website, via payroll integration technology, or using third parties to administer their scheme.

“It’s encouraging to see they are engaging with their duties and that our systems are coping well,” she said, adding that with 1.8 million employers yet to reach their staging date, the industry was still “in the foothills of a very large mountain”.

Pensions minister Baroness Ros Altmann welcomed the milestone, calling Nest a key partner in the continuing success of automatic enrolment, especially as the policy extends to small and micro employers this year.

“Our pensions revolution is enabling millions of people, many for the first time, to save for their retirement through automatic enrolment. Over 6 million people have already been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension and it is excellent to see this momentum continuing.”

The news comes as calls intensify for stricter regulation of the auto-enrolment master trust sector. This weekend, the work and pensions committee called on the government to include a pensions bill in the Queen’s speech this week.

Zoe Alexander, director of public policy and advocacy at Nest, told FTAdviser: “We support the calls from the regulator, the minister and the wider industry to strengthen the protection offered to consumers saving into master trusts.”