One thing that rang clear throughout the discussion: there are many more opportunities for advisers and providers around auto-enrolment and these opportunities are only set to become greater as more employers reach their staging dates.
Get ready for the rush
The majority of advisers at the roundtable told us that during the summer of 2013 they saw limited enquiries on auto-enrolment (AE), whereas by the end of last year, this demand had heavily increased. The Pension Regulator estimates that 30,000 UK businesses will be reaching their staging dates in the next four months and by October 2014 that figure will rise to 50,000 employers each month. And it doesn’t end there: by October 2015, almost 200,000 small and micro employers will be reaching their staging date every month. And so far, opt-out rates are low, with only 9 per cent average, according to the Department for Work and Pensions.
Our web traffic on unbiased.co.uk supports this. We’ve seen a 28 per cent increase in traffic to the website, with a 10 per cent rise in searches year on year. Pensions are the number one advice driver to the site and 26 per cent of these visits are looking for AE advice.
A need for guidance
There is a thirst from employers for more information on the subject, as well as a need for guidance. If advisers and providers focus on auto-enrolment now and make sure their proposition is lined up, they can capture a potentially large client audience, which has been teetering on the brink of the advice market for some time and one that offers many long-term financial advice opportunities.
A new proposition
Advisers at the roundtable also discussed how there was a challenge around building up a new skillset and how a cookie-cutter approach couldn’t be applied to this relatively new area of advice. There was a need to learn specifically about auto-enrolment as it differs so greatly from other propositions, such as group and corporate pensions. They discussed how taking further training was a worthwhile investment, which will pay off in the long term. The resounding consensus was that now is the time to start identifying training needs and contacting clients, giving them the fresh solutions to new problems.
John Taylor, managing director of customer and proposition at NEST, sees automatic enrolment as an opportunity for advisers. "There are challenges ahead; the number of employers this year is unprecedented, with over 30,000 staging this year alone. NEST research quite clearly shows that employers are looking for advice and willing to pay for it. Automatic enrolment presents a strong opportunity for providers and with the delegated access function that NEST offers, advisers can offer employers a full automatic enrolment service."
Opportunities for advisers
There are many ways unbiased.co.uk is helping advisers with promoting this new proposition. From generating leads for advisers in the AE market with content and marketing, to enabling advisers to promote their PR profile through our media services directory, the Bluebook. Advisers can clearly state on their unbiased.co.uk profiles that auto-enrolment is a key specialism, enabling these potential new clients to find them. Through www.unbiased.co.uk we offer content on auto-enrolment to help educate consumers and urge them to seek professional advice. We’ll also be sending out communications with timely information about how to make the most of this bourgeoning market, so look out for these in your inbox over the coming months.
How are you preparing for auto-enrolment? What challenges have you faced so far? Let us know in the comments below.