Auto-enrolment  

Auto-enrolment opt-outs hit 19%

Auto-enrolment opt-outs hit 19%

Almost one in five (19 per cent) of people automatically enrolled in a workplace pension have either opted out or are planning to opt out, a YouGov survey has revealed.

The results of the survey of 2,105 British employees, commissioned by auto-enrolment provider Smart Pension, put the level of opt-outs almost twice as high as The Pension Regulator's latest figures of 10 per cent.

However, the YouGov poll assumes those who said they planned to opt out would actually follow through with it. 

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London had a particularly high number of people deciding to opt-out (26 per cent) as did Glasgow and Manchester (23 and 21 per cent respectively).

At the other end of the spectrum, just 12 per cent of people in Brighton said they had or would opt-out, and 11 per cent in Leeds. 

One in four of the employees questioned cited lack of funds as the reason for opting out, while 17 per cent said they would rather not invest their money in a pension.

The survey also found auto-enrolment had already become the most common channel into a pension.

Thirty-six per cent of the employees questioned said their pensions were created under auto-enrolment, while 28 per cent said they had non-auto-enrolled workplace pensions.

Seventeen per cent said they had a standard personal pension, and just 8 per cent had a self-invested personal pension (Sipp).

Will Wynne, managing director of Smart Pension, said: “Auto-enrolment has already overtaken every other form of pension, including personal pensions, in a very short space of time. 

"The initiative is clearly gaining momentum and looks on track to hit targets over the next two years when 1.8m small and micro firms have staged."

However, commenting on another figure that showed 56 per cent believed they were not saving enough, he added: “It seems everyone understands the need to save for their retirement, yet many are simply brushing the issue of pensions under the carpet.

“In a period when savings are being hammered by falling interest rates, workplace pensions are an effective way of funding retirement – currently, for every pound of net pay saved by a worker, another one pound fifty is added on top by the government and their employer, a whopping 150 per cent return on their investment on day one."

He described that as an "incredibly generous deal for the employee".

james.fernyhough@ft.com