All you never wanted to know about that Pension PlayPen GPP

hi res playpen

What are you on about now?

www.pensionplaypen.com is a website set up to help Britain’s 1.2m employers work out auto-enrolment, adapt their existing workplace pension or get a new one and manage “auto-enrolment for life not just for staging”.

As it’s the only website doing this, I can’t tell you if it’s doing it well or badly but it is free to visit and has no “garden fence” so as soon as you like, do pop over using the link and take a look.

And that GPP?

Rather scarily, one leading insurer has decided to break ranks and offer its flagship product to everyone – and at the same price whether you are BP or the local chip shop.

Why don’t you name the insurer?

There is no sensible answer to this. The rules that govern financial promotions are very complicated and we simply didn’t have time to get all the disclaimers and provisos agreed to name the offer.

So how do I get to find out who is behind this?

If you go to the offer which you can do by pressing here, and use the test payroll number 123PA00045678 (you’re going to have to write it down or cut and paste), you can get through to the offer itself.

Am I in danger of buying a pension if I press the wrong button?

As long as you use this test, we’ll know you’re just having a look around but if you use your companies own payroll number, the insurer will get an alert that you are in earnest!

Are companies using this for real?

Well it seems so, we have had some distressed stagers already and it seems that not everything in the auto-enrolment is Rosy (sorry rosy).

What kinds of companies?

The most common distressed buyer is the large company who had bought a great workplace pension in recent years but had got terms based on a slice of the workforce ~(typically the top-slice). Many employers are finding that the insurers are unwilling to take the less attractive part of the workforce.

Will your  GPP provider take any workforce?

The answer is yes! So long as the employer is paying the minimum contribution for the scheme to qualify as a workplace pension, currently 1% of the “band” and the employee is also making minimum contributions, you’re in!

What’s the catch?

Well firstly, you’ve got to be self-serve. That means your company has got to contract with the insurer directly and set everything up on the phone or using other digital channels (like email). Secondly, this is not an offer that includes a black box that sorts out all the HR and payroll problems nor does it wave a magic wand and say you are compliant to the Regulator.

That’s a big catch!

Yes it is. It means that you either have to learn about your employer duties and DIY auto-enrolment or you are going to have to find an adviser to hold your hand. Www.pensionplaypen.com can teach you all you need to know about your employer duties and we do so in conjunction with the Pension Regulator whose pages we often link to, refer to or have just re-written (in playpenease).

Can I self-serve this black box and an adviser?

Yes you can, we are currently sorting out ways you can buy directly into a pure software solution or get a managed enrolment service using an adviser?

Is this you trying to sell that First Actuarial lot again?

Well it’s going to make First Actuarial money (eventually) but First Actuarial are not going to be running a managed enrolment service for www.pensionplaypen.com.

First Actuarial own a slice of the holding company and their analytics inform much of the technical side of the site but First Actuarial do not get a cut of the GPP action either as a finders fee or a commission and neither does the www.pensionplaypen.com

So why can’t I just go direct to the insurer?

You can! I’m quite sure that if you wanted to go to the insurer they’d be delighted to talk with you. The same could probably be said of most insurers. All www.pensionplaypen.com is a door (portal) to the insurer which makes it easy for everyone.

Hmm… maybe I could offer this kind of offer on my website.

Go ahead! www.pensionplaypen.com is as surprised to have the exclusive on this. We are genuinely amazed at the lack of innovation in the financial services industry. I would stop short of saying we are sorry that no-one else is using their imagination. It’s quite nice being the only person in the swimming-pool! We’re sure that other firms will set up their own www.pensionplaypen.com ‘s in time but in the meantime we are enjoying being one of one!

How do you make money?

Www.pensionplaypen.com will only make me and First Actuarial and my business angels any money if we get enough people coming to the site to make money from advertising. In time we expect to make more money from a “choose a pension” machine which employers will have to pay to use (£500), we’ll also be making money from selling a high level view of the decisions people take on the site to the people who  do strategy and product development on the sell-side.

Can I send my clients to you?

Please do, we’re a common resource and we do not want to know our customers! Nothing personal but this is a self-service site and we don’t want customer relationships! That’s why you won’t find loads of data capture stuff on the site. We are not going to sell you or your clients into captivity with other providers/advisers.

Can I join you?

Yes you can! There are lots of ways to become a friend of the playpen. The best, if you’re on linked in is to join our linked in site – called Pension Play Pen funnily enough! We also have a company page on linked in  and on Facebook.

You can register on our website to get our mailings (haven’t done one yet but I promise to do one over the weekend!) and you can contact me at henry.tapper@pensionplaypen.com.

If you have content you’d like us to promote, a proposition you’d like us to advertise or just want to have a chat, my phone is on (silent) and you can get hold of me on 07785 377768 (text me first).

Are you serious?

I have never been more serious in my life. We have smiles on our faces but that does not mean we are not in earnest and we won’t stop till the last of the 1.2m stagers has safely tucked their workforce up in the auto-enrolment bed!

Tapper-Henry-First-Actuarial-2013_06_we_180

When are you going to sort out the typos on the site?

Ah, a proper question at last! The site is full of typos and glitches and we’d ask you to be patient. Getting every typo sorted will happen and we will get better at getting better.

But the need for all this information and the tools and modellers (as well as the products) which the site is promoting is immediate. We can’t wait to be perfect, by the time we were perfect, many employers would have missed the boat.

So the typos will stay for a few more days but we’re on the problem. For every great road there is always a pothole!

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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