Exclusive Blog from the UK’s New Minster For Pensions

By Richard Harrington MP | 14th September 2016 | 15 min read

Today's blog comes from Richard Harrington MP, the UK's Minster for Pensions. Richard has exclusively written for IRIS about the future of pensions.

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Leading the Evolution of Pensions

These last few months have seen the British public vote to deliver a momentous change- leaving the EU. However, even though the scale of this change is undoubtedly significant, it’s important to remember that the need to save and plan earlier for a secure retirement hasn’t changed.

As the new Minister for Pensions, I want to encourage people, from an ever younger age, to set themselves on the right path for retirement by planning early and saving more. I’m keen to help as many people as possible to achieve this. Over the past few years we’re delivered a pensions revolution, with the introduction of the new State Pension and the start of Automatic Enrolment (AE). But it is now my job to build on those strong foundations.

Planning ahead for a comfortable future may seem difficult and like a job easily put off for tomorrow, but making sure you plan ahead for a more financially secure retirement is a sensible decision and one that we each must take responsibility for.

I want to make pension saving easier, clearer and simpler and AE is key to this approach. With over 6.5 million people already automatically enrolled into a workplace pension it is clear we are succeeding in developing a culture of saving. One of my foremost priorities is to ensure AE remains a success and continues to go from strength to strength.

It is a fantastic achievement that over 200,000 employers have signed up to it. It is important that we recognise the huge contribution they are making to the success of the programme, giving more people than ever a chance to save for a secure future. We are now in the most challenging phase with our smallest employers setting up pension schemes over the next couple of years. Together with The Pension Regulator we will continue to support these employers as they go through the process of delivering workplace pensions for their staff.

Another key priority for me is helping more people to understand their pensions. One way we are already doing this is through Pensions Wise. If you are aged 50 or over, with a defined contribution pension, you can book a free and impartial appointment with a specially trained Pension Wise guider, to explore your options. There have been nearly 3 million visits to the website and over 80,000 appointments, showing just how in demand the services are. But I want to ensure that access to financial guidance is made easier which is why I will be unveiling reforms to the services available in the coming Pensions Bill, this Autumn.

I will also be setting out in the Bill, how we intend to tighten up regulations on master trusts to ensure stronger protections are in place for people and remove the barriers for those that face excessive exit charges, when accessing their pension freedoms.

While saving for your retirement can seem like something that’s far off, it is important to start as early as possible. I am 100% committed to working with the sector to help people do this.

The future of pensions is something we here at IRIS are passionate about. We've developed the industry's leading auto enrolment solution, the IRIS AE Suite™. The IRIS AE Suite™ has been developed through the close relationships with pensions providers and The Pensions Regulator as well as customer feedback, and is used by over 7,000 businesses across the UK to assess over 600,000 employees each pay period.

To learn more about automatic enrolment, how IRIS can help save your business time and money, as well as the IRIS AE Suite™ , book yourself onto a free, no-obligation software demonstration using the buttons at the top and bottom of this blog.

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