Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Auto-enrolment may create 6m savers

Almost half of the 'squeezed middle-earners' say they would find it easy to save an extra 50 pounds a month into their pension scheme

Automatic enrolment into pension schemes could create an extra six million people saving, generating £12.5 billion annually to the retirement pot by 2017, research from Standard Life has suggested.

The Keep on Nudging report, developed with academics from the University of Edinburgh, was based on a survey of more than 600 employees who represented the "squeezed middle", earning £18,000 to £45,000 a year.

Just under half of them (48%) said they would find it easy to save an extra £50 a month if they had to, the report found. But it also said communication was crucial to the scheme's success.

Under the pension reforms, all eligible employees will need to be automatically enrolled into a qualifying workplace pension scheme.

The report found retention rates (the proportion of employees not opting out) could be as high as 82% when information is presented "clearly and effectively".

It said: "Making carefully designed communication a priority can ensure the success of auto-enrolment. By our calculation it will add six million new people saving for retirement, with increased annual retirement savings of £12.5 billion annually by 2017 - fully in line with the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions)'s ambition."

The study found that 26% of employees who have never had any form of pension would choose to opt-out, significantly higher than the 12% who opt-out among employees with some prior or current form of pension saving. The report said this confirmed the continued need for financial education.

Just over six in 10 who would opt out said it was because they could not afford it - while a third said they did not trust the Government and 28% did not trust pensions. But there was no significant income difference between those who would opt out and those who would enrol.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: "Our reforms will get millions saving into workplace pensions, many for the first time.

"It's vital that people understand these changes so we are working with industry and consumer organisations on ensuring people know how automatic enrolment can help them save for their retirement."

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