How much support do we get from our Workie?


Here’s Workie!

Workie – if the DWP’s advertising campaign’s to be believed, is a workplace pension (albeit one looking for friends in the park).

We want to know how friendly our Workies really are, how much support they are giving  employers in running workplace pensions, to those who manage payroll and most importantly to those who are going to depend on Workie as a savings pot to supplement their State Pension.

Pension PlayPen takes feedback from a variety of sources to get to our support rating and we need your help to make sure that those employers making purchasing decisions in the future, do so informed by your experience.

Please help us improve our ratings by completing our survey. It takes on average 8 minutes but will help your clients ensure they choose a quality and easy to administer pension.

Please do it now- before you read the rest of this blog!

Here is the link to the survey …..


Are we getting value for money for this support?

As many of you will know, this support is not always free. Two of the three largest mastertrusts (People’s Pension and NOW) have recently introduced charges to employers for support and from 2016, new schemes set up will pay a one off fee to People’s (£300-£500) and a regular £40pm to NOW. NEST are not currently charging a fee but have the right do do so provided that fee is charged to the employer and not paid by the employee.

Many of the insurers charge support fees, including Scottish Widows, Aviva and Standard Life. These fees are all charged to the employer.

Our survey sets out to find whether the support levels differ from provider to provider and whether the costs incurred can be justified by an improvement in the level of service compared to the one large master trust not charging (NEST) and to Legal & General who say they have no plans to introduce a charge.

At the Payroll World Client Conference yesterday, the People’s Pension told the audience that their research suggested small employers were prepared to pay for service (well they originally used the words “happy to” but had to retract them!

When the charge is explained in value for money terms, I suspect most employers would consider a single charge worth paying. But the discussion is rarely framed in these terms. In our experience, decisions are too easily taken purely on who is cheapest with no reference to the consequences when cheap is “not cheerful”!

Our current service level ratings, suggest that NEST is providing a comparable level of support to that of its principal rivals, People’s Pension, NOW, Standard Life and Legal & General. Your input – together with hundreds of other people we know, will allow us to test what service levels are like today and to test how they change through 2016 – when the capacity issues crunch!

If NOW and People’s and the insurer’s who are charging for support, demonstrate – though the survey – superior service, then we can assume value for money is being delivered.

If they aren’t seen to be delivering special service and that those not charging are delivering comparable service, we must question the value for money of the support charges.


How sustainable are current pricing propositions?

If – as may well be the case, service levels are typically in a bunch then we may have to look again at the ratings we give to those providers not charging and ask whether their propositions are sustainable at the current price.

NEST have recently gone on record to say that they are not planning to introduce employer charges. While I am minded to trust Legal & General, I am not so minded to trust NEST. Legal & General are responsible to their shareholders and their CEO is accountable to them, he has their support and that’s that.

NEST have a more difficult job. The National Audit office are charged with making sure that NEST stick to their promise to be able to repay the loan it is building up to the taxpayer. Currently NEST owes over £400m, with only £600m under management, that’s a huge debt. We suspect that NEST is not meeting its target revenues , it has only 2.5m of the 4m employers it was projected to have at this stage of the auto-enrolment staging period. Convincing the National Audit Office that it will make good its promise to repay the loan in a market where it is only getting around 30% share is going to be a tough job.

For employers and their advisers, planning ahead, a view not just on the value for money of the current pricing structure but also the sustainability of that structure is vital. We will continue to provide ratings on both through . That means that you as an employer will be able to take decisions not just on what is right today, but what is good for you in months and years to come.

But we can only provide this service with the help of people like you, who have taken the time to read this blog and are interested in the employer’s experience of auto-enrolment and of making Workie available to staff.

So if you ignored my plea to complete the survey earlier here it is again, we’d love to provide you with a giveaway Workie but sadly we have neither Workies to hand or the capacity to give you one! Workie – say it quietly – is digital only!

Here is the link to the survey …..


When – and only when you’ve done the survey, you can watch the video! No cheating, we’re watching!!

About henry tapper

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