“None of our clients are interested in auto-enrolment!” Says IFA

Think you’ve taken advantage of all the auto-enrolment opportunities you can?

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AE? Not interested, thanks!

 

If you’re an IFA and you think you’ve exhausted all the opportunities for client development on the back of auto-enrolment, think again; It’s not over, until it’s over!

By now IFAs will have sorted all their employer clients, and spoken to all their accountant contacts about auto-enrolment, and everyone’s taken care of, right? An IFA may press ahead with personal client conversations from now on, not giving AE a second thought; other than mentioning occasionally that the client is about to be auto-enrolled into a workplace pension, and needs to budget for contributions impacting disposable income.

But, do IFAs realise that they do have a lot more employers they could access and discuss AE with within their existing client bank?

“How so?” I hear you ask.

A large proportion of an IFA’s clients will not be business owners that employ staff, but in fact will be the employees themselves, and it is from this source of existing clients that a few simple questions could be asked to identify employers that may need their help.

1.      The first question to ask any ‘employee’ client is: “Have you recently received a letter from your employer which explains about the new Auto-enrolment duties they are faced with and the options you have?”                

2.      If the employee HAS received a recent letter from their employer, from this you will be able to ascertain what the employer has done (or is in the process of doing) AE, and maybe probe further as to whether the employer is ‘DIY’ing it, and maybe needs some help, or is happy with the approach taken so far (possibly through the accountant or other business adviser). At this juncture, it really depends upon the relationship your ‘employee’ client has with their employer (i.e. very strong or tentative/non-existent) as to whether you feel the need to explore this further (probably with their help) to possible identify any issues/risks their employer is taking by the approach adopted.

So the second question is “Can you provide an introduction for me to your employer?”                                                                               

3.      If the employee HAS NOT received a letter from his employer, then following a quick discussion around what the employee knows so far about what his employer is doing on AE (which may identify they know nothing at all), then the IFA needs to obtain the employer’s PAYE reference number from the employee (usually found on their payslip or P60) and then go to the following TPR link to find out the employer’s staging date:

http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/employers/staging-date.aspx

Just enter the business PAYE Reference number at the link below, and this will inform you of the employer’s staging date – just follow the simple instructions.

This will then show on screen the employer’s staging date (that is the only information it shows as it doesn’t even state the employers name). If that staging date is very close, or worse still the staging date has actually passed, then that employer is in need of some help and quicklyotherwise they will face TPR fines for non-compliance should this status continue.

It is armed with this knowledge that the IFA needs to decide how best to progress matters and make contact with their employee client’s employer. Once again, if the employee/employer relationship is strong, ask the second question referred to earlier as it makes sense to get the employee to help make an introduction to the employer…..if not, then re-assure the employee their name will not be disclosed (unless they have no issue with their name being mentioned) and just make a general enquiry to the employer that you are speaking with many local employers about AE and are already assisting many with their AE ‘pain’ and wondered if they would be open to a discussion about it.

Other benefits from taking this action

As all IFAs will know, whoever solves a client’s difficult/painful problems usually moves to the front end of the queue where trust on other ‘financial’ matters are concerned, and this not only introduces a new client for the IFA, it potentially offers many corporate financial planning opportunities as well as personal ones. This can also lead onto offering your services to other employees within the business through Pension Surgeries and Wealth Checks.

Another opportunity that presents itself is the potential connection with the employer’s accountant (who if a problem has been found is likely to be ignoring AE or finding it very challenging, if nothing has been done through them previously) and the likelihood that other employers may not be getting any guidance or support on AE. Again with your experience on AE, this is a great opportunity to get the accountant to talk to you and increase your network of connections, thus bringing more fiscal rewards to you.

If you want to speak further about this strategy and see how it can work for you, then please visit the WPD website at:

www.workplacepensionsdirect.co.uk

Or speak to WPD’s Business Development Manager:

Paul Hoyle on 07983 486063 or email paul.hoyle@wpd.email.