“Nest’s auto-enrolment -innit!” – “no it ain’t!”

workplace advice


Auto-enrolment and NEST are synonymous to many. Hugh Pym, the BBC’s chief economic correspondent  told me he thought you could only auto-enrol into NEST and the mistake was repeated by Rachel Burden this morning on auto-enrolment.

Rachel told the listeners they could “auto-enrol into NEST”.

But Rachel and Hugh are not alone.


“Nest’s auto-enrolment-innit”

is an exact phrase I heard at the bus-stop this morning.

“No it ain’t”

I postulated – in top chav.

My rejoinder earned me a dirty look and rightly so! It turned out my fellow traveller is a financial controller for her company and they are enrolling with NEST this summer.

I asked her why they’d chosen NEST.

“We didn’t have a choice love- it’s the law!”


Now if the BBC’s chief economic correspondent and the FC at the bus-stop are making the same mistake- then we’ve got an “across the socio-demographic auto-enrolment selection time-bomb” on our hands.

Here’s why

  1. NEST is not the only fruit- there are other very good workplace pensions that will take your and your colleague’s money. If we assumed that the Granny Smith was the only apple, we would have a less diverse and interesting life (and rubbish cider). Different pensions serve differing needs and NEST is not right for everyone.
  2. Despite its public service obligation to accept everything that’s thrown at it, it is not good for NEST to be inundated with employers demanding its services. We need to spread the love, to keep NEST’s servicing capacity intact.
  3. NEST is a great workplace pension but it is shackled by restrictions- if you are someone wanting to have more than £350 pm into your pension and/or you have pots that you want to follow you , you’ll have to split contributions and aggregate elsewhere.
  4. For all it’s great claims, NEST is always the best governed scheme in the land, it employs convicted fraudsters to run some of its funds and the trustees have some very odd ideas about risk.
  5. NEST is not exactly flexible about the way it integrates with your HR and Payroll systems, it’s the NEST way or the highway!
  6. There are many other workplace pensions who will do business with you. To find out who will , go to  https://www.pensionplaypen.com/choose-new-pension/start

NEST is great, without NEST we would not sleep at night for worrying about the capacity crunch. NEST is a national treasure and currently owes us around £400m. We’ve about as much chance of seeing that money back as I have of recovering my son’s mobile phone debts- what’s done is done.

But it’s time employers started seeing the workplace pension decision as something that they take, a means to upgrade its employee benefit package, reward staff, retain staff and demonstrate they give a stuff about their staff’s welfare.

To consign that decision to compliance and  contract with NEST out of ignorance or indifference, is an opportunity missed.

If you’re reading this and you are influential in the decision making on workplace pensions you must consider NEST as one of your options, but it ain’t the only one!


This article first appeared in http://www.pensionplaypen.com



About henry tapper

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