Lower AE eligibility age to 16 says industry
Respondents say starting contributions from an earlier age will benefit workers at retirement.
This week 105 respondents took part in Pensions Buzz and answered questions about age eligibility for auto-enrolment (AE), the pensions minister and collective defined contribution plans.
The majority (53%) of respondents said the age for AE eligibility should be lowered from 22 to 16, with many saying that the earlier contributions start, the better.
It comes as the government's review of AE may recommend that the minimum qualifying age should be reduced from to 16.
Just over 40% disagreed, with one respondent commenting:"16 is too young - they will be an apprentice on low pay, so in most cases may not be able to afford the contributions.
"Perhaps an extension for apprentices should require the employer to meet the whole cost of the contributions," the same respondent added.
Just 6% were unsure, with most respondents saying age eligibility for AE should be lowered to 18 rather than 16.
Under half (44%) said they do not back Labour's plan to introduce collective defined contribution (DC) schemes, with some respondents arguing they did not trust the party with this.
One said:"I don't trust a [potential] Labour government to leave them in the hands of private asset managers."
Another respondent said now is not the time for more change.
Over a third (36%) of respondents answered yes, however. One said:"Anything to give more certainty and reduced scheme costs must be considered to be positive."
Another argued:"As long as the pensions industry is happy to offer it."
However, some respondents who answered yes also said they did not accept the introduction of collective DC would bring certainty or control.
One fifth was undecided. Of those respondents, one said it is a good idea but in the long term growth prospects need to be good to make it affordable, and that"no amount of crystal ball gazing will show that."
Another commented:"There is not enough detail available to assess this."
Over half (56%) of respondents said Workie has not been effective in engaging employers with auto-enrolment (AE).
One said:"Pointing at the increase in AE doesn't prove Workie did it. Employers were contacted many times in other ways. [It is] hard to see how an advert saying ‘don't ignore it' will be effective, if the advert also shows loads of people ignoring it with no consequences whatsoever."
Another commented:"Silly though it appears, it is an image without disclaimers and pension speak, so it gets the message across better."
Under a third (31%) said they were unsure if Workie has been engaging employers with AE, and some respondents said they did not know who Workie is.
Another said:"There is no evidence that can prove behaviours were linked to Workie."
Just 12% agreed Workie has been effective, and only 1% said it has been very effective. One said images are effective in re-enforcing words, while another said:"Messages may not have been clear, but at least it was noticed."
Just under 40% said it is unlikely Guy Opperman will still be pensions minister at the end of this parliament, while 30% said it is very unlikely.
Most respondents pointed towards the uncertain future of this parliament.
One commented:"It depends how long the parliament will be sitting. If it stays the full five-year term then there is no chance of him still being in place."
However, just over 10% thought it would be likely, with one saying:"Not really high on the political agenda at the moment so can imagine him being there for some time."
Only 1% of respondents said it is very likely Guy Opperman will be in the post at the end of this parliament, with one saying it is down to him being passionate about pensions.
One fifth of respondents said they did not know.
Over half (53%) of respondents said there should not be an industry body that steps in to mediate disputes that can occur when schemes change third-party administrator (TPA).
Of those respondents, one said it is matter of contract between the trustee and administrator."The relationship between member and trustee does not change," he added.
It comes as the Pensions and Administration Standards Association has announced it will launch a mediation service to help schemes resolve issues when changing TPAs.
However, one respondent said it should be dealt with by The Pensions Regulator (TPR), while another believed it should be a subset of the Financial Conduct Authority.
Conversely, 30% said there should be an industry body to mediate such disputes, with one arguing: "It seems clear to me that procedures for leaving should be established when signing the initial contracts (and current contracts should have provisions added even where current relationships and service levels are excellent)."
Some 17% were undecided. Of those, one said:"If not, then there it should be made clear, legally, that the information held by the TPA belongs to the scheme trustees and should be transferred in its entirety, without being destroyed or redacted."