Ten things everyone should know about workplace pensions









Pensions are difficult; how can buyers choose one from another?

Look from the list of categories at the attributes that IFAs consider important when deciding on a pension?

Confused? …… I was!

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 06.15.21The traditional world of workplace pension plans, where money is deducted from payroll and paid back later seems a million miles from this “review of pension service”. I admit to knowing little to nothing about most of the winners in this game, I suspect that many of my readers will feel the same.

But this is an extract from the May 15th Defaqto review of Pension Service, you can download a copy for yourself here .

We must agree with what Ben Heffer, Defaqto’s Life and Pensions Insight Analyst that

Value for money, ease of doing business, integrity, financial strength and investment options matter the most to financial advisers when dealing with pension product providers.

DeFaqto are undisputed market leaders in the advisory market. But what matters most to the bosses of Britain’s UK 1.8m employers and the new intermediaries- recommending pensions to employers as accountants, payroll managers and as the product buyers of the major employer trade associations?

When the OFT examined the way that employers bought pensions for their staff, they were scathing about the quality of decision making which they characterised thus


So what is being done to help employers buy better? I personally don’t think that the service level table produced by Defaqto is targeted at the purchasers of workplace pensions, but if Defaqto aren’t publishing relevant research, where can employers go?

Conventional sources of information – Which – Money Saving Expert and the Comparison Sites are offering little help comparing workplace pensions – why?

Here is what the Pensions Regulator has to say on the matter– which is more a reflection on the sorry state of the traditional market , than a real attempt to help…This extract shows just how confused everyone seems to be.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 06.53.29


The long and short of this is that there are plenty of schemes but not a lot of help on which one to pick! As the Defaqto analysis shows, the IFA community are advising on wealth platforms which are a million miles away from the workplace pensions which the Pensions Regulator wants to research

The biggest problem is that bosses are simply not being taught the questions to ask. The second biggest problem is that there is no one there to answer those questions if they had been asked. Fundamentally, there is an issue with research.

There is insufficient research on the actual performance of workplace pensions.

In the second half of 2015, Pension PlayPen will be conducting a major market review of the providers with market share providing pensions to staff under auto-enrolment. We are starting by establishing what are the questions that the buyers of workplace pensions should be asking.



 So here is out list of the top ten questions we think bosses should be asking!

  1. Who will offer my organisation a workplace pension?

  2. What’s the chance of the provider I choose today, being around to pay pensions tomorrow?

  3. How do I work out  what “value for money” means?

  4. When I look at value for money how can I work out what my staff really pay?

  5. When I look at value for money , how can I work out what value my staff get?

  6. How can I tell if my payroll people will be able to work with the provider I choose?

  7. What help will my staff get in saving for the future from our pension provider?

  8. Will our provider help my staff choose how best to spend the money?

  9. How will my provider help me and my staff get the best deal on tax?

  10. Where do I go to get help on these questions?

If you’re interested in helping people buying pensions make a better fist of it, get in touch with henry.tapper@pensionplaypen.com and have a look at this video..





About henry tapper

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