Solving the long-term pensions savings gap was never going to be easy. Cast your mind back 10 years and you may remember both the Pickering Review and the Sandler Review in 2002, which between them explained the UK’s problem with pensions and savings. Then, in 2005, there was the Pensions Commission with the Turner Report calling for a new national savings scheme and a raising of the retirement age to 68. By 2006, the document Personal accounts: A new way to save spelt out what we now know as auto-enrolment and the national employment savings trust (Nest).
We seemed to spend years on reviews and reports. How I wish the government back then had been braver and quicker to act. As a result, in October 2012 we will only just begin to sow the first seeds of auto-enrolment for all – and in a tough economic environment, to boot.
However, the pensions savings crisis is now so severe that there is no option but to act, even if it all feels like too little, too slowly (but never too late). Delays to implementation dates for smaller employers announced last year will simply exacerbate the crisis for millions of workers. Let there be no more hesitation and procrastination.
The good news is, in my experience, that most good employers will go beyond the minimum requirements under auto-enrolment. These workplaces need to be praised and held up as examples for others to follow. The last thing we need is a race to the bottom on pensions savings. Long term, this will cause havoc with workforce planning, staff motivation and performance and, ultimately, the fiscal sustainability of this country.
Rising to help meet this challenge are a wide range of advisers and pensions providers, featured in this Auto-enrolment Showcase. Each can help employers not only meet their minimum requirements under the pension reforms, but also ensure they do it to the benefit of both their staff and their business. This showcase aims to give employers a taster of what each can offer, so that readers can decide which ones they may wish to work with to smooth the path to auto-enrolment.
Debi O’Donovan, Editor