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Darren Philp, Director of Policy and Market Engagement at The People’s Pension, has commented on research into auto-enrolment recently published by the Department for Work and Pensions.
The research suggests that opt out rates are remaining low, and may stay low as smaller employers reach their auto-enrolment staging dates. The research also explored some reasons that people give for opting out of a workplace pension and examined employer attitudes to auto-enrolment, which were largely positive.
“The DWP’s research shows that auto-enrolment is still on track. Opt-out rates remain impressively low and participation rates are improving. Encouragingly it also suggests those trends are set to continue as smaller employers start auto-enrolling their staff.
“But we can’t rest on our laurels and the next phase of auto-enrolment will be tough for employers. The number of companies staging from January 2016 will be a huge challenge for policymakers, regulators and providers alike and we will only really know the success of the policy when we have gone through that, and when contribution rates start to rise.
“It’s interesting that some employees opted out because contributions were too low, while others were concerned about the affordability of contributions. Clearly there’s a delicate balance to be struck. People need to pay meaningful contributions to have a decent retirement income, but if contributions rise too quickly then this could lead to higher opt outs.
“It is also pleasing to see employers largely viewing their new responsibilities in a positive light. Most employers want to make a success of auto-enrolment and do the right thing by their staff. The research shows that for medium-sized and smaller employers, master trusts are clearly the preferred option, a finding that is borne out by our own experience. We have now auto-enrolled 1.2 million people and there are 3,700 employers using The People’s Pension.”