Yes! We Have No Pensions


Yes! We Have No Bananas was a popular sign (based on an earlier song) hanging in many green grocers’ windows during World War II.

But in today’s consumer led society can you imagine walking into Marks and Spencer and being told they had no suits for sale or clicking on eBay to find they had no daily deals to choose from? (Other retailers are available).

Well this is the position many employers are finding when it comes to selecting a pension for auto enrolment.

With the exception of NEST Pensions (that benefits from government funding) all other UK pension providers are commercial organisations and therefore have the right to choose who they accept and who they turn away.

We already have a Work Place Pension

Having a workplace pension and having an auto enrolment scheme are two different things and having one does not guarantee the other.

Traditional providers liked group pensions for directors and managers who would have higher salaries, contributions and other pension benefits they could move into the plan.

Having lower earners and therefore low contributions is bad business from their perspective as it can often take 7-10 years before a scheme becomes profitable; adding lower earners can greatly extend that timescale.

This has started a trend for providers ‘soft closing’ schemes meaning they will not take on new entrants, refusing to make the scheme compatible with auto enrolment or if they do they charge the employer higher running costs such as a monthly administration fees.

The role of new providers

The good news is that we are seeing new providers enter the market; their simpler technology based solutions have added capacity and quality to the auto enrolment marketplace. Issues remain around payroll integration and financial backing for the smaller companies meaning due diligence when selecting a pension provider is more complex than ever.

You can never start too early

Frankly this does not bode well for smaller employers, at the moment (June 2015) we are seeing the need for 4,000 to 10,000 new pension schemes per month by 2017 and this could rise to as many as 100,000 per month. So the sooner you start thinking about your obligations as an employer and ring fencing some resources the better your auto enrolment experience will be.

This blog is updated from the attached article;


The content of this article is not intended to represent any form of financial advice or recommendation or other professional advice or services. The views expressed are Duncan Reeves’ as at the date appearing on the material and may be subject to change without notice. Whilst information contained in it is compiled in good faith and based on sources believed to be reliable, neither its accuracy nor completeness are guaranteed. Your use of the content is at your own risk, you should not rely on this information to make an investment or financial decision. Past performance is no guarantee to future performance. The value of investments can fall as well as rise so you could get back less than you invest.

Sanlam is a trading name of Sanlam Wealth Planning UK Limited (Reg. in England 3879955) and English Mutual Limited (Reg. in England 6685913). English Mutual Limited is an appointed representative of Sanlam Wealth Planning UK Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Registered Office: St. Bartholomew’s House, Lewins Mead, Bristol, BS1 2NH.


About Author

Duncan Reeves

Duncan Reeves - Employee Benefits Specialist. Duncan has worked in financial services for over 15 years specialising in pensions and employee benefits and has worked for some of the most respected pension providers in the UK. He currently works for a national advisory business based in Bristol as an auto enrolment specialist where he is involved in every aspect of helping employers comply with their new responsibilities. Duncan’s favourite part of the role is being “out in the field” meeting with employers. Duncan can be contacted at Sanlam Wealth Planning on or visit

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