AE savers relying on adviser knowledge

The majority of advisers feel that they are relied upon ‘completely’ by newly established business clients to help them through their auto-enrolment (AE) responsibilities, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has revealed.

The survey, completed by OMB research on behalf of TPR, found that 58, 63 and 70 per cent of accountants, payroll administrators and bookkeepers respectively, believed that they were relied upon completely.

However, the proportion was lower amongst independent financial advisers (IFA), with 33 per cent feeling relied upon.

Almost all advisers (97-100 per cent) provided support or assistance with AE to at least some of their newly established clients, and accountants, payroll administrators and bookkeepers said that a lack of knowledge amongst clients was the most common challenge.

Awareness of ‘instant’ AE pension duties, when an employer first takes on the employee, had improved by 27 per cent for accountants and more than 30 per cent for payroll administrators and bookkeepers since the 2017 Intermediaries Survey, taking awareness levels for all advisers above 95 per cent.

The Adviser Engagement with AE Survey 2019 also found that 88 per cent of IFAs had seen or heard advertising about raising awareness of pension scams in the previous six months, compared with 46 per cent of accountants, 39 per cent of payroll administrators and 33 per cent of bookkeepers.

Over a fifth (22 per cent) of IFAs had suspected their clients has been subject to pension scams, while less than 5 per cent payroll administrators, accountants and bookkeeper had suspicions.

However, 26 per cent of IFAs had not taken any action as a result of scam awareness advertising or e-mails, compared to 49 – 55 per cent of other advisers.

IFAs were the most likely to communicate information or warnings about scams to clients, with 68 per cent doing so, compared to between 31 and 36 per cent of other advisers.

The survey was carried out with advisers who provided pensions information or assistance to business clients, and consisted of 422 interviews with accountants, payroll administrators, bookkeepers and IFAs.

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