Workplace savings platforms assets approach £2bn

Total assets of the UK’s eight major workplace savings platforms are approaching £2 billion, according to an update published by The Platforum in association with The Lang Cat.

Its second Workplace savings platform guide found that, as of the second quarter of 2013, an estimated 249 employers have adopted a workplace savings platform.

The guide also found that pensions auto-enrolment has displaced workplace saving platforms from the agenda over the short-term, but presents real opportunity for change.

Holly Mackay, managing director of The Platforum, said: “The guide is packed with current information on the runners and riders in the market and provides detailed research and analysis of the key developments that have taken place over the last year.

“It also looks at where the market is heading and what the challenges will be to growth in the future. We size the market and look at employers, employees and the all-important levels of engagement.

“It’s clear to us, from industry feedback, that auto-enrolment is the number one priority occupying everyone at the moment. And that’s not going to change any time soon. The workplace savings platform market is growing, perhaps not anywhere near as fast as many providers had hoped and predicted, but growing nonetheless.

“More than 60% of employers surveyed told us that they either have a workplace savings platform or intend to review them over the next two years; that’s a jump of nearly 30% from this time last year.

“We expect pretty rapid growth from today’s humble £2 billion once we get through the auto-enrolment challenges facing employers. We’d describe employer and provider sentiment as interested in a calmly pragmatic way.”

Mark Polson (pictured), principal of The Lang Cat and co-author of the guide, added: “Those providers looking at the development costs of their corporate platforms might be feeling a little twitchy at the moment. The assets just haven’t materialised as quickly as boardrooms have been led to believe they would.

“That’s down to auto-enrolment. We can all see that now. But that’s little consolation to the unfortunate proposition guys who have spent a [lot] of money and now have to go face to face with the finance director and explain why they might have to wait another three to five years longer than they had originally expected to see any meaningful numbers coming through.

“However, I look at this in a different way. The older-style systems that group pension schemes have been written on in the past are simply not fit for purpose post retail distribution review. Better to spend the money now on new-generation technology, and migrate legacy business over time, than find yourself having missed the boat completely in a few years.”