Industry leaders come together to draft auto-enrolment best practices guide

Auto enrolment has become a hot topic

Auto enrolment has become a hot topic

In order to offer best services to clients on auto-enrolments, industry leaders have started collaborating on a best practices guide to help advisers and employers deliver on auto-enrolment new policies.

Consultancy firm F&TRC has created a workplace forum of pension providers, specialist benefits technology suppliers, IFAs and benefits consultants to draft a guide on auto-enrolment for efficient and cost-effective delivery, said managing director Ian Mckenna.

The forum will consider processes that have been successful in the past and will use them to advise providers on needs to change their operations so that they are able to deliver best services on auto-enrolment, due to be rolled out on October 1, 2010.

It is believed by experts that if operations are streamlined, providers will be able to reduce own costs, and the benefits can be passed on to the intermediary and the consumer. However, the guidelines prescribed will be in the nature of advisories and providers will have the discretion to implement it.

“We are in the process of mapping both the data requirements and operational processes, and seek further feedback from the industry. This includes organisations that operate their own contribution collection processes, such as life offices, advisers, consultants and technology companies”, said Mr. McKenna.

“After a decade and a half of creating electronic processes to operate contribution collection as an industry, we should look at what lessons we have learned, what works and what does not. Delivering business efficiency to customers should not be a competitive issue.

“While there might be short-term tactical gains, the more variations in processes that exist, the more unnecessary costs are perpetuated”, he added.

The process has already gathered momentum and several adviser firms, pension providers and consultants have joined the forum. Although the company has set no deadline, it expects IFAs to send their feedbacks within two weeks.

When the auto-enrolment scheme is rolled out, almost 600 of the UK’s biggest companies with a total employee strength of 10 million are expected to enroll first. The Pensions Regulator has already started to contact them advising the requirements.

“We anticipate that this new forum can establish opportunities for firms to function in a more consistent manner”, said Peter Fairweather, head of business solutions at national IFA Origen.

“We hope it will also bring about reductions in costs for all involved and that a resulting good practice document will be adopted within a reasonable period of time by participants in this market”, he added.

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