The government has confirmed its intention to remove the annual contribution limit and transfer restrictions on the National Employment Savings Trust (Nest). The restrictions on annual contributions, which currently stand at a maximum of £4,600, and bulk transfers will be lifted on 1 April 2017.
We fully welcome proposals to remove the annual contribution limit and transfer restrictions on Nest. The introduction of a workplace pension price cap will mean that many smaller employers will have very few pension options available to them as providers become even more selective about the pension schemes they are prepared to run. For many of these employers, Nest could prove to be the best remaining option, and that will certainly be the case for many of the micro employers that will reach their auto-enrolment staging date from June 2015.
Sean McSweeney, auto-enrolment specialist, Chase de Vere
The original plan for Nest was that these restrictions would be reviewed in 2017, so in making this announcement now, the government could be accused of jumping the gun. However, there are good reasons behind this decision. Auto-enrolment is working better than expected, opt-out rates have been lower than many had forecast, and so far the pensions industry has proved itself capable of working with Nest to meet market demand. Also, there are the budget freedoms coming in next year that would potentially be quite awkward for the government if Nest scheme members found themselves unable to take advantage of the same freedoms as other pension scheme members.
Tom McPhail, head of pensions research, Hargreaves Lansdown