How did IFAs end up payroll experts?

IFA ae


In 2011 I started getting interested in payroll. Having read the automatic enrolment regulations it seemed I’d have to if my firm was to help employers.

In 2012 and 2013 and 2014 I was named among the top 50 influencers in the payroll world by – Payroll World.

This wasn’t because I knew about payroll, simply that I knew more about pensions than the people in payroll.

I managed to convince them that they were important enough to boss the people in pensions about a bit. Payroll administrators, like pension administrators, find it hard to throw their weight around, they generally get to do the work after consultancy and HR wonks have done the dirty on them.

I can’t say I can run a payroll today , any more than I could in 2011. But it saddens me that many IFAs have told HR and Finance managers that their payroll departments are not fit for the purpose of auto-enrolment when quite clearly they are (and the middleware propositions aren’t).

I’m not saying “all” but a great number of payroll operatives are furious that they have to play second fiddle.

If payroll can manage RTI and any number of benefit schemes, if can collect NI and pay over income tax, surely it can work out how to do auto-enrolment!

So how did IFAs ever get the idea that they knew better than payroll?

Well it all comes back to pensions, what auto-enrloment was supposed to be about!

The reason IFAs have assumed themselves expert is because they know a little more about pensions than payroll people and have used auto-enrolment as their Trojan Horse. Once the horse has been wheeled into the corporate services department, out we jump , waving our spears about and claiming authority over all things “pension”.

We all know the pension regulator and payroll don’t. We paint the Reglulator as a fine-thirsty monster who will stop at nothing to savage HR departments for a whiff of non-compliance.

Thus the subjegation goes. Payroll is forced back into the hole from whence it came and IFAs dance around the citadel  looting the treasury  and carrying off Helen and the rest of them.

But this is not sustainable.

At some point the penny drops!

IFAs do not understand payroll and if auto-enrolment is about payroll- what are these guys doing on payroll’s patch?

IFAs are supposed to do pensions but they don’t do pensions at all. They are telling everyone that auto-enrolment is about payroll (not pensions).

So some naive idiot in the payroll department pipes up “the emperor’s naked – these new clothes don’t cover the naughty bits- the tailor’s a fraud, the adviser’s a fraud!

Because you can only fool some payrolls  some of the time , not all payrolls all of the time. And when they stop feeling foolish, payrolls are going to get angry- get even and then we are going to have to have a very good story about pensions!

About henry tapper

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