Documenting why you chose your workplace pension


The best thing about the Pensions Regulator’s Duties Checker is the process. Follow the five steps and you will be able to sign your declaration of compliance and that’s it- auto-enrolment sorted.


Well if only it was that simple.


Implementing auto-enrolment into your payroll workflow is tough but already over half a million employers have done it – it’s getting easier as payroll software companies de-bug their auto-enrolment modules and as employers get smaller and simpler in structure.


But the importance of your workplace pension is going to grow with every contribution you and your staff make to it. And the pension will come under more scrutiny as employee contributions increase from 1 to 4% of earnings. Infact, some experts say that when your pension pot is worth more than the cost of your car, then people really start to ask questions.


Not just the odd person mind- there are 9m of us who will be first-time pension savers as a result of auto-enrolment. All these people will, at some point, have to pay attention to their pension, if only to choose how to spend it!


From tiny acorns…


What seem inconsequential issues at outset, like the cost of the pension or how the money is invested, become hugely important later in someone’s career. For instance, the cost of a 1% charge on your pension pot of £100 is £1, but that cost rises to £1000 when you’ve built a pension pot of £100,000. The impact of losing £1000 a year in charges to your final pot in 40 years time is huge.


Even more important is investment performance which can add or subtract 2 or 3% per year to your pension.


Then there’s the quantity and quality of help you get from your pension provider not just at the start but throughout the time you have your money invested with it.


But here’s the scary bit…


It’s not the person owning the pension pot who gets to make the big choices … it’s their employer. Over a million employers will have to choose a workplace pension for their staff in the auto-enrolment staging period. The quality of those decisions will vary, some employers will get it right and some will get it wrong and you (as an employer) can make sure that the chances of you getting it right are massively improved by paying attention to the pension.


Legally this is called conducting due diligence; that is precisely what helps you do.


But while you may know you made every effort to pick your pension sensibly, does anybody else?


In ten , fifteen or twenty five years time – will anyone remember that you paid attention to the choice of the workplace pension? Most employers who choose a workplace pension have no idea why they chose the pension that they did.



Many employers we speak to say they did what their accountants or financial advisers told them to do.


Some say they chose NEST because it was the Government scheme and no one can be blamed for going with the Government


Others may have looked into things in more detail but kept no record of their researches and soon find it hard to remember the basis of their decision.



Future-proofing with an actuarial certificate to back you up


Well we all remember what we were taught at school “SHOW YOUR WORKING”. That’s why everyone who uses to choose a pension gets a report on how First Actuarial research your choices and how those choices are presented to you on the site.


It’s also why we produce a bespoke report for you of the pension providers we found for you and the quality scores we gave to each


Most importantly of all, it’s why we give you, once you’ve completed your selection an actuarial certificate signed by a real actuary (Mark Riches FIA) that confirms (in your own words) why you made the choice you did and that you’ve followed due process.



And why’s this so important?


The three PDFs which you download when you complete your pension selection on future proof your decision. We cannot guarantee that you made the right decision but we can guarantee you tried your best.


If anything does go wrong you have a full audit trail. Scarily for us, if anything has gone wrong with our process or our research you will have reason to come to us for restitution. To be quite frank, we have insurances in place for such an eventuality and while we never expect to call on them, we have Lloyds and London and AIG standing behind us with millions of pounds of cover.


We take your decision very seriously and we are planning to be accountable for the help we gave you for many years to come. When you buy the Pension PlayPen you are paying not just for the work we do for you today but for the quality of that work into the future.


Nobody wants anything to go wrong, everyone wants the best possible outcomes for staff. Pension PlayPen is there to ensure you are insured against the future and all the uncertainty it is likely to bring.

hi res playpen


About henry tapper

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