“Agency has its advantages”; using Pension PlayPen with your clients

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What’s this all about?

In 2014, Pension PlayPen wants to build a network of 1000 agents – people and organisations wanting to use our Choose A Pension Service to help their clients get a good workplace pension in advance of auto-enrolment.

If you’re a Pension Playpen agent, you’re protecting yourself and your clients.  

This guide looks at how Pension PlayPen compliance works

Why do we need Pension PlayPen?

Getting auto-enrolment right is more than a payroll issue. While staging gives employers an acute problem establishing the processes needed to stay on the right side of the Regulator, the workplace pension into which contributions are paid, is a longer term headache!

As the DWP’s Command Paper puts it

The biggest test for automatic enrolment is yet to come, as large numbers of small employers reach their staging dates later this year. It is vital for the Government to ensure that people are saving into high quality, value for money schemes and that all individuals, irrespective of their employer and their choice of scheme, can have confidence in their private pension saving

Pension PlayPen is the only on-line source for workplace pensions that allows you and your clients to choose the right workplace pension.

What  is the Regulatory status of the Pension PlayPen?

Pension PlayPen Ltd is a company that runs www.pensionplaypen.com. Pension PlayPen is not a regulated adviser but it takes advice from First Actuarial which is authorised through the permissions of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.

While the process of choosing a workplace pension is not deemed a regulated activity by the Financial Conduct Agency (FCA) , much of the investment advice within the Pension PlayPen would, were it offered to individuals, need to be authorised

So we at Pension PlayPen take compliance very seriously and are keen to point out, whenever we get the chance, that our Choose a Pension (CAP) service, is there to help employers purchasing on behalf of the staff and not to give individuals advice about what they should do with their own finances.

What do we mean by agency?

There are two kinds of customer using Pension PlayPen, there are employers doing the selection of a workplace pension for themselves and their are advisers doing it for their clients. We call those who act for employers “agents”. Agents get an agency agreement with Pension PlayPen, a copy of this agreement (which is very simple) is available on request  from  henry.tapper@pensionplaypen.com .

The chief advantage of registering as an agent is that it makes sure , should anyone question the decision , that you have access to all information that went into the decision. By being an agent, you can demonstrate that you followed a due process certified by First Actuarial as compliant with their professional standards.

Who’s Pension PlayPen Agency for?

This service is designed for:

•Financial Advisers



•Payroll Bureau

•HR Project Managers

•and other professionals helping SME’s with Auto-enrolment

What are its main features?

Using a Pension PlayPen agency you can

Create multiple enquiries for different clients

•Dedicated dashboard to manage enquiries

•Receive dedicated quotes for clients from providers

•Bulk discounts

•Latest news tailored to your services

A word of warning! You must download our output report!

Pension PlayPen and its advisers First Actuarial, can only take responsibility for the Process which has been followed, if the Output Report, featured at the end of CAP, is downloaded. The cost of downloading this report is £499 (plus vat).

Your client is free to Choose a Pension without the report but you are “on your own” if push comes to shove.

“The Pension PlayPen output report is the vital compliance document for any agent” -Mark Riches; Founder First Actuarial.

What goes into the report?

Each report is particular to the client and provides a unique audit trail of the decision process taken to select a provider.Specifically it details

  • Everything you have entered into the CAP , including your workforce assessment, the cash-flow forecasts for your contributions over the years to come and your capabilities to interact with your provider digitally.
  • All the offers made to you by the providers on CAP
  • Fact sheets on the providers offered you on CAP
  • Your balanced scorecard, including the weightings you chose
  • The basis of the decision you have taken IN YOUR OWN WORDS

CAP will only allow you to make the selection after you have properly followed the process. So First Actuarial are comfortable to issue a certificate, once a selection has been taken, which forms part of the package purchased by employers as the Output Report.

Why is the report a compliance document?

Not all workplace pensions  qualify to be “auto-enrolment workplace pensions” . The technical term for compliant pensions is a “Qualifying Workplace Pension Scheme” (QWPS).

Any workplace pension purchased after using CAP will be a QWPS. CAP only features offers made by Providers which meet the minimum qualifying standards laid down by the DWP in current legislation. Pension PlayPen has also been involved in the consultation on future regulation laid out in the DWP’s Command Paper.

At the moment,to Qualify, the workplace pension has only to have a default investment fund and be capable of working with auto-enrolment. But from 2015 it must not have charges on the default exceeding 0.75% and must have minimum standards of governance in place which are much tighter than today’s. The rules get tougher still in 2016 when no commission can be payable to third parties from member’s funds and no group of members can be favoured over another (Active Member Discounts).

First Actuarial will be monitoring each provider to ensure that you do not get offered an un compliant scheme. 

But neither Pension PlayPen or First Actuarial can certify that your purchasing decision was compliant unless the report is downloaded. The report is , in relation to the workplace pension, your compliance certificate.

What else is important about the report?

Pension contributions form a part of overall pay (some call it total reward). Increasingly people will come to rely on their workplace pension as a means of having deferred income in retirement. 

People will become more aware of the value of a good workplace pension over time, less happy with sub-standard pensions.

In extreme cases people will complain about pensions and ask questions about how they came to be “put” in what they see as an unsatisfactory arrangement. Your report is your insurance against this happening.

People move on and the knowledge of the decisions taken today may be lost. The Report properly documents the decision and ensures that your company is future-proofed against investigations from employees, auditors,regulators, staff representative or other bodies such as the press.

So we see the payment for the download as an important legal safeguard for your company, similar to the due diligence documents you would expect to pay for in purchasing any other major item (a lease, a freehold, major plant and machinery etc).

To wrap up

To make it simple to explain your role and the role of the Output report, we finish with the five key benefits of becoming an agent.

Five reasons to become a Pension PlayPen Agent

  1. It puts you in control of the decision your client takes (aiding in retention and expansion of client base)
  2. It puts your relationship with your client on a properly defined basis that is future-proofed.
  3. When as agent you ensure you client uses the Pension PlayPen output report, you and your client have a proper audit trail demonstrating you have used due diligence in selecting your pension.
  4. Your are helping your client and their staff to a good workplace pension and better retirement outcomes
  5. Agency gives you a number of operational benefits in using the CAP service

What do do next.

If you are interested in becoming an agent for the Pension PlayPen, please drop a line to henry.tapper@pensionplaypen.com to discuss.

Alternatively you can register on line at https://www.pensionplaypen.com/clarence/auth 

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About henry tapper

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