Pension PlayPen – why it should sit on your browser

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Britain has never given itself a pension challenge like todays. More than a million employers are still to stage auto-enrolment and more than 200,000 are born each year.

Pension PlayPen analyses the propositions of 42 providers of which 19 sit on its platform.

Employers and their advisers wishing to understand their options are able to log on to, assess their workforce, model contributions and deliver their details to our quotes engine which- after a payment of £499- delivers

  1. A series of factsheets for the providers prepared to quote
  2. Terms based on the data submitted
  3. A balanced scorecard with ratings on each provider assessed by First Actuarial
  4. A detailed report documenting the choice taken
  5. An actuarial certification confirming due process has been followed
  6. An API that allows data to pass directly to the provider to commence the implementation of the pension

This is a straight through process that takes between 60 minutes and 4 days depending on the patience of the person operating the system.

The key features of the system that warrant pension playpen’s inclusion on any shortlist for pensions innovation of the year are

  • The industrialisation of a process that currently costs between £5,000 to £15,000 using traditional manual processes – Henry Tapper is to pensions what Henry Ford was to automobiles
  • The translation of complex ideas into a language that resonates with SMEs,Micros and non-pension-specialist advisers.
  • The inclusion of all the major pension providers operating in the SME and micro space. Pension PlayPen gives even the smaller players the opportunity to be considered
  • A system of analysis that corresponds to tPRs – 6 good DC outcomes and the “value for money” formulation proposed by the FCA (IGC consultation)
  • Documentation that is of institutional standard but written in a language that can be understood not just by small employers, but by their impacted workers.

Creating the Choose a Pension (CAP) system that engages, educates and empowers employers to properly select their workplace pension has been no easy business.


We have been rewarded by a recognition both from within the industry

  • 3 IMAIA Awards including the judges award
  • Engaged Investor Pension Consultancy award
  • 3 Mallowstreet Awards Pension PlayPen shortlisted by the Pitch 100 for small business 2014
  • Henry Tapper shortlisted by RBS UK Entrepreneurs of the year 2014
  • And nationally
  • A further 14 nominations from among others Pensions Age, Payroll World, CIPP and Professional Pensions

But we do not measure out success by such awards (nice as they are), Here are the stats that count.

417 employers have chosen their workplace pensions having used CAP

214 financial advisers have registered accounts with us to use and reuse CAP

132 accountants haver registered accounts with us to use and reuse CAP

Reaching the parts pensions have not reached

We are of course only riding the first waves of the Tsunami that is coming our way but we have in place the marketing plan to reach beyond the traditional boundaries of pension advice.

We already have more than 10,000 linked in followers more than half of whom are in our Linkded In group, we have 4,000 twitter followers and our blogs will receive around 100,000 hits on a rolling twelve months basis.

This “noise” has got us noticed in the national press, broadcast media and on the search engines that bring us to the attention to employers researching pensions for the first time.

We have proprietary research that tallies with studies conducted by NOW and tPR suggesting it will be accountants, book-keepers and payroll managers as much as Regulated Advisers who will use our system. We have target our energies though Accounting Web’s No-one gets left behind campaign, CIPP’s Friends of auto-enrolment and through work with payroll software companies and their trade magazines.


In years gone by, we would have been paid by providers through commissions or other inducements. We are pleased these days are over as they created a false market where business was bought and members paid for the marketing bills in heavy charges.

We are independent of inducements and when we do take money from providers (through advertising) we are scrupulous in managing conflicts. Much of what we have been able to do in the past year has been through the support of our principal advertisers L&G, NOW and ITM.

Increasingly, transactional revenues are repaying the costs of development but we continue to reinvest in our business to ensure we bring more functionality to our system. In our first year’s trading we will make a small trading loss and we expect to make a small profit, after the recovery of developing cost in 2014-15. The current trajectory of profits suggests that we will be making substantial revenues from 2016 onwards.

Future developments

We act as a sponge receiving feedback from all areas of those operating in auto-enrolment. Feedback is fed into our research and we build our technology to ensure that our customers get ever more accurate information.

For example we are currently building a database of payroll software providers and bureaux which will link to our metric on “payroll and HR integration”, this will mean that employers will be able to get specific ratings on providers based on the feedback we get from Sage, IRIS, Northgate and other leading payroll suppliers.

We are currently conducting with First Actuarial research into the “at retirement propositions” of each provider focussing on their capacity to offer the new retirement income options. Similarly we are rating how each provider is adapting its default to meet with these new income options.

We are working with the DWP to help with benchmarks for charges and costs so that the ratings we provide are not just based on AMCs but on the total cost of investing. Finally we are feeding into the FCAs work on Governance to ensure we can rate the governance of each provider and the sustainability of their propositions.


As you can see from this submission, Pension PlayPen is more than just a search engine. We see ourselves as engaging employers, educating them in what is good and empowering them to make the right decisions for their staff and their businessesPlaypensnip

About henry tapper

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