F&TRC launches robo-paraplanner

F&TRC launches robo-paraplanner

A workplace pensions robo-paraplanner system has been launched, which designer F&TRC claimed will "make it far easier for advisers to help employers."

The system can assess and compare large numbers of workplace pension providers and propositions, producing a comprehensive and bespoke report based on specific employer requirements and priorities allowing advisers to recommend new providers of auto-enrolment (AE) plans to their employer clients or qualify their existing one.

Auto-enrolment, whereby employers must provide a workplace pension scheme for staff, was introduced in October 2012.

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As the introduction was staged according to employer size, clients may now be reaching their first or second re-enrolment stage and evaluating the performance of their current scheme is important ahead of contribution and therefore assets rising in 2018 and 2019.

F&TRC has created a benchmarking process measuring multiple data points from auto-enrolment providers covering 95 per cent of the market (by number of employee members), which automatically generates detailed analysis of the suitable pensions schemes available to employers.

Ian McKenna, director of F&TRC, said: “The market has moved on considerably since auto-enrolment was first introduced.

"Schemes that were originally empty shells now have sizable invested assets and providers services, which creaked in the early days, have now improved vastly - or not, in one or two cases.

"There is now more choice, greater flexibility, better terms – including reduced charges – and easier switching. This is a great opportunity for advisers to conduct an in-depth review and provide solid reasoning for sticking or switching.

"This area is a huge opportunity for advisers to grow fee income while at the same time delivering real value by identifying where employers can find better service and lower charges.

“While there is much talk about robo-advice, we believe at the current stage of evolution many employers want professional guidance from an adviser, hence we have built a robo-paraplanner harnessing the powerful analytical capability of our established research engine to take much of the hard work out of creating reviews.

"This provides a trusted source of information for advisers, quickly and easily which will, in turn, help provide the best deal for both employers and savers."

Alistair Cunningham, financial planning director at Surrey-based Wingate Financial Planning, said: "I question whether something so specific can really be described as paraplanning."

There are more than 800,000 employers with workplace pension schemes and more than 8.5 million employees saving through auto-enrolment, according to The Pensions Regulator.

This is expected to reach 10 million – those either newly saving or saving more – by 2018, generating around £17bn a year in workplace saving by 2019 to 2020.