Member Since: 24th Jan 2014
I'm best known for helping small employers and business advisors with their problems with pensions. These are typically over choosing the right pension for auto-enrolment though through my work with First Actuarial, I get involved with big occupational schemes too.
I'm on this site as I see accountants as the missing link between the pensions industry and the business community - especially small businesses.
I've a Cambridge MA and 30 years in finance behind me, but I'm looking forward to the next ten to twenty years (my flexible "corridor to retirement") to help restore people's confidence in pensions.
Director- First Actuarial
Writer- www.HenryTapper.com and many magazines and papers,
Manager; Pension Play Pen linkedin group, Pension Auto-Enrolment Linked In Group
Choices Champion; Friends of Auto-enrolment
Managing Director Pension Playpen
12th May 2017
www.pensionplaypen.com provides a due diligence service for employers who want to choose the right pension for their circumstances. It takes payroll data, analyses it and spits out a recommendation , a due diligence report and a certificate signed by an actuary with a big PI policy. It costs £199 per client and their are volume discounts if you are introducing multiple clients.
17th Jan 2016
I understand employers choosing on upfront cost or simply opting for NEST as a "safe haven" scheme. But if accountants are making reccomendations they may be held to account if things go wrong. Indeed employers may themselves be held to account and then pass the buck to the nearest adviser to hand- typically the accountant.
What is needed is an authorative source of information and a means to sign off a "reason why" letter that can stand as the end point of an audit trail.
Such a service does exist and if you search this site you will find it.
3rd Dec 2015
Not your fault- Regulator has changed its position
The Pension Regulator was originally keen for all employers staging AE to have a scheme in place, even if they had no one to auto-enrol. This has changed and (unlike what happened with stakeholder pensions) there is no need for employers to set up shell schemes. If things change and you have someone wanting to opt-in or you have someone who becomes eligible , you need to move sharpish!
27th Nov 2015
For those considering investing in Scottish Widows funds through the Creative Auto-Enrolment master trust, we suggest you have a word with Creative Auto-Enrolment. Our understanding is that things may be changing.
21st Nov 2015
Choosing a provider for the rest of your clients
Creative auto-enrolment are an IFA - part of a group of companies - all with creative in their name.
Money is invested in a master trust which invests in Scottish Widows funds, it has its own charging structure similar to that of NOW.
This is a net pay scheme.
The Pensions Regulator is keen where you reccomend one provider, you make sure your client knows that other providers are avaiable and their products may be better.
I would not rely on these comments as due diligence. I would suggest you pay for a professional opinion and have it signed off by an expert.
6th Nov 2015
The small man is not suffering!
There are a number of reputable pension providers with whom your clients can still contract with without paying an upfront or regular fee
They include NEST, Legal & General, BlueSky Pensions, Royal London, Salvus, Supertrust , Smart Pension and Smarter Pensions. Not all these providers will take every employer but there is a cheap and simple way to find out which will take your employer and that's to use a search facility like Pension PlayPen or Financial Sat Nav's Husky service.
The cost to the Fat Cats of setting up auto-enrolment often ran to more than £1m (ask Lloyds Banking Group who have stated their implementation costs as being north of that). They have paid a high price to be compliant and smaller companies are getting the benefit.
The basic laws of economics demand these costs, NEST needs to follow suit if it isn't to exceed the £600m loan it has from the DWP.
The small man is going to get a great deal out of auto-enrolment and if you can be smart and use a provider who is right for your client (and not just cheap) then you are really helpful.
If you want to better understand how to choose a pension, please get in touch at [email protected]
19th Jan 2015
Who will quote?
Capacity among the large insurers is still there.
Standard Life will quote "their good to go" service, L&G should quote and we'd expect Friends Life , Aegon , Scottish Widows and Aviva to quote.
If your client is a charity , in social housing or a third age employer then Smarter Pensions from the pensions Trust is worth a look.
There are a number of smaller master trusts including Blue Sky ,Friendly Pensions, Source, Salvus, Supertrust who all of whom should offer a quote
Some providers have different implementation costs depending on the introducer, for instance the cheapest way to Scottish Widows is via the FSB (if your client is a member).
NEST, NOW and Peoples will quote.
The problem is making sense of all these quotes and establishing which is right for your client. Some perfectly good pensions don't work so well with some perfectly good payrolls (NOW an IRIS for instance)
You need a proper search engine, a rating mechanism and a scorecard that picks up on such granularity.
All this research and the digital guidance to make sense of it is available at www.pensionplaypen.com
12th Oct 2014
We have been up and running as www.pensionplaypen.com for nearly a year and have helped just over 450 companies choose a pension.
Backed by a firm of actuaries , our system relies on professional analytics and has received praise from the pension and payroll industry winning 9 awards so far this year.
As both the FCA and the Regulator pointed out in March, advice to employers on regulated activities is not regulated, it is advice to employees that is regulated.
So we are comfortable in the deep dark pool having the skill and knowledge to have the courage of our convictions.
Most importantly , all the major insurers and mastertrusts provide us with regular updates on their products and underwriting which is incorporated in our programming.
Employers and their agents who use our program, can do so with confidence
29th Sep 2014
M&S didn't phase contributions, thinking it would lose a high proportion of the AE population, It didn't.
So far, there is no evidence that people bounce out of AE because of the cashflow- the major area of opt-out is age related - 28% of those over 60 opt out, less than 5% of those under 30.
29th Sep 2014
Role of accountants
Getting back to Lucy's question, I suspect that over time it will become easier to operate auto-enrolment as clients have simpler issues and payroll software improves in scope and quality.
It is probable that the choice of providers will become more important to small companies. Many so far have already had a workplace pension (not necessarily a very good one) but for most of the 1.2m employers still to stage, choosing the right workplace pension will be quite a daunting task.
While technology has provided solutions on the payroll side, as several comments on this thread have hinted at, there are few technology solutions out there that help people choose a pension.
But accountants are going to be called upon, where no financial adviser is available, to provide help here. I think that in a world where B2B advice on pension choice is not regulated, that accountants hook up to sites like Nurture,PensionPlaypen and Autoenrollme and get a game plan.
In practical terms, you don't have to do a lot, except navigate, to help clients to sensible solutions.