Auto-Enrolment needs more Training and less Selling

Tomorrows world

The standards adopted by those administering auto-enrolment have been high. Compliance to some complex problems that payroll, HR and pension providers have faced has been impressive. Sure there have been failures but countries (such as Ireland) reviewing the progress of auto-enrolment so far, should note the very high levels of technical expertise that is already in place.

As we move to smaller companies, technical complexity reduces and is replaced by a new challenge- scale. The new chart produced by the Regulator show just how back-end loaded the logistical challenge will be.

staging graph

The purple lines are those that now apply and they show that the biggest chunks of work are now in 2018 not in 2017.

The 500,000 new “employers” probably don’t even consider themselves bosses yet, They may be no more than shell employers in the incubation stage but they will have to consider auto-enrolment just as Tesco and Sainsburys.

Indeed, auto-enrolment and the adoption of a workplace pension may be more of a challenge to owners who may never have considered a private pension for themselves – let alone their staff.


FINTECH to the rescue?

It would be nice to think of Financial Technology delivering neat solutions to tomorrow’s problems. It was comforting watching Tomorrow’s World in the 1970s – technology will put us right- maybe!

Here is our latest training video , designed to help those engaging with pension choice use our Choose a Pension System.

It’s good – but it’s only had a couple of hundred hits on youtube, because it hasn’t engaged with its user-base.

This is the problem with most FINTECH solutions, they sit unused on the shelf because they are not properly applied.

To apply what you learn in our video , you must first be aware you have a problem, be engaged in solving it and be ready to get educated. None of these things comes naturally when it comes to pensions!

Less selling – more training

To get to the point that people are going to want to spend ten minutes of their lives learning how to use , they need to re-train, re-order their brains. Payroll administrators need to start thinking of themselves as Pension managers, accountants with responsibility for payroll must now take responsibility for pension delivery and IFAs must become experts not just in individual but fiduciary decision making.

This is not quite the same as setting up a pension for yourself, this is about the retirements of other people.

Managing this quantum mind-shift is not impossible, but it needs empathy and sensitivity beyond the current capability of youtube or the programming capabilities of You can sell ideas and systems as much as you like, but you can’t sell the need to use them, that comes from education and empowerment and that needs training,

Which is why the majority of the financial software designed to help auto-enrolment is already obsolete, it never touched the people it was meant to help.

The market for training

Those who get the need for FINTECH solutions, people like ourselves and ITM, pensionsync  FSN, defaqto and efileshare are selling vapourware unless it is applied in action.

To get our software to market will mean a massive push of human resource around the country. We may sit in Shoreditch High Street at the Ace Hotel discussing the algorithm but if you live in Barnsley or Barnstaple, have a business washing cars or minding infants, you need more than theory.

This is so not about “UX”

You need face to face contact with someone who trains you how to turn the application on and how to turn it off and the various stages in between. And if anyone describes what the person in Barnstaple or Barnsley is doing as the UX, you have my permission to kick them in the shins.

There is nothing so detrimental to FINTECH as people jargonising it. “FINTECH” is of course jargon in the first place – short for Financial Technology which in itself is an unpleasant phrase.

All this stuff should be kept in a jargon cupboard and kept under lock and key whenever “users” are around- the user experience.

Financial technology is not an end in itself

Like social media, financial technology is useless in itself, it is only useful in getting people from a bad place to a good place with the least possible pain. To promote the means of transport as the solution is to miss the point, the solution is getting to the good place.

Training is the means of getting to the solution and tools like are the means of transport which need training to use. But the tools are not the solution, they are the way to get there.

When we learn this properly – and it’s still not in my DNA- we will stop selling and start training. I’m pleased to announce that after working on a project since early April, I am finally getting to the point that that project will deliver something incredibly simple but massively important- a training program for financial intermediaries (including payroll, accountants and IFAs) on how to the auto-enrolment pension decisions right.

If you’d like to be a part of this project, either as a trainer or as a trainee, drop me a line on

And it really should be fun

About henry tapper

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