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2012: looking ahead

What does the new year have in store for automatic enrolment?

2011 has been quite a year for pensions with all sorts of changes to annual allowances and state pensions to name but two.

And 2012 promises to be another interesting year...


  • The biggest employers in the country will have their automatic enrolment duties to carry out from October 2012. From then, we'll start to find out how big employers, and NEST, are coping with the new regime and may have an early indication of that critical statistic – opt out rates.
  • We will get more details of the automatic enrolment 'solutions' that providers are putting in place to cope with employer demand.
  • And we should get more details from the new players in the market who are pitching as direct competitors to NEST.

The Department of Work and Pensions

  • The final regulations dealing with certification and postponement are due at the start of the year. Designed mainly to help employers with existing schemes, it will be interesting to see how many employers use this route. It may be easier to administer, but it is costlier in terms of the contribution rates.
  • We should learn what all the automatic enrolment bands and thresholds are. This will allow employers to better quantify the costs of automatic enrolment on their business.
  • We'll get more regulations setting out the new staging dates and the knock-on effects of this – e.g. how this affects the phasing of contributions, giving us more certainty where it is so desperately needed.

Small pension pots/automatic transfers

  • The consultation paper was published on the 15th December 2011.
  • Once all the responses are received, we may get a green paper setting out how the government aims to tackle the issue through legislation.
  • If this issue is to be tackled properly, the transfer of small pension pots will also have to be looked at so we may get a consultation on the automatic or easier transfer of pension benefits under automatic enrolment.

The Pensions Regulator

  • We expect the Regulator to ramp up its automatic enrolment guidance.
  • We also expect the Regulator to write to employers throughout the year to tell them their staging date is in 2013.


  • We may see more pressure on charging structures as we get closer to the automatic enrolment regime unless the industry can demonstrate it is taking government concerns seriously.

More information

Visit our dedicated automatic enrolment section for all the information you'll need for speaking to your corporate clients about the new requirements.

For a round-up of what happened in the world of pensions this year visit 2011: That was the year that was.

Published 20 December 2011

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