A panel of speakers that advised the U.K. government during its current automatic-enrollment review agreed that the initial challenges of auto enrollment such as getting employers enrolled were overcome, but warned the process will face more obstacles as contribution rates increase in April 2018 and in April 2019, attendees heard at the PLSA conference in Manchester on Wednesday.
While the auto-enrollment review concludes in December, the discussion of how high the contribution rates ultimately should be continues, speakers said. "The consultation doesn't stop there," said Jamie Jenkins, head of pensions strategy at Standard Life Aberdeen.
Panelists named other challenges including state retirement age, member engagement and personal savings, which will play a part in how plan participants will be impacted individually.
"There is no silver bullet," said Ruston Smith, chairman of Tesco Pension Trustees. "At Tesco, we have the ability to talk to people but we struggle to find ways to engage with members, to find something that they will understand. The statements are still quite long and we are competing for their time," Mr. Smith said.
Chris Curry, director, Pensions Policy Institute, added: "Auto enrollment was the easy bit. The hard bit will be how does it fit because there is no consensus on at what level, how and when (additional contribution requirements should be introduced)."
One of the review points was around the possibility of excluding some groups from automatic enrollment into the plans. However, according to Mr. Jenkins the review found no evidence of that: "Nobody is saying to raise the auto-enrollment age or exclude any people at any age. ... We should stick to the auto-enrollment success," he said.