Two-thirds of scheme admins view volume of legislative change as barrier to quality service

Two-thirds (66 per cent) of pension scheme administrators view the volume of legislative change as one of the main barriers they face to providing a high-quality service, according to research from OMB Research for The Pensions Regulator (TPR).

Training and retention were mentioned as a barrier by 37 per cent of administrators, while 32 per cent cited system restrictions or lack of suitable technology.

Although two-thirds (66 per cent) of administrators saw staff recruitment as a challenge and 37 per cent viewed retention as a challenge, 64 per cent believed they were sufficiently resourced to deliver the services that trustees/scheme managers required.

More than nine in 10 (93 per cent) agreed that there was typically a collaborative and transparent relationship with those running the schemes they administered and 89 per cent felt trustees/manager put a high priority on record keeping and administration.

Increased engagement from trustees/managers over the previous 12 months was observed by 43 per cent of respondents, while 53 per cent had not seen any change.

Most administrators reported that the majority of their trustee boards or scheme managers had engaged with them about data quality (69 per cent), GMP equalisation and rectification (63 per cent), business continuity (59 per cent) and scams (54 per cent) over the same period, although engagement from trustees/managers was lowest for pensions dashboards (15 per cent).

Although 95 per cent of administrators used electronic systems to hold their active member records and 92 per cent used them for deferred member records, around half also used non-electronic methods (47 per cent for active members and 53 per cent for deferred members), typically paper records held in the office.

Overall, 88 per cent of those who administered active members and 84 per cent of those with deferred members said that the majority of these records were held electronically.

On awareness of pensions dashboards, 86 per cent had heard of them and 73 per cent knew that trustees and scheme managers would be required to provide data.

However, awareness was found to be low amongst administrators with memberships of less than 1,000, with 39 per cent having never heard of dashboards and 23 per cent aware of them but unaware of the data requirement.

Nearly all (85 per cent) saw dashboards as a positive thing for savings, but only around half (53 per cent) agreed they would be able to deal with the administrative demands involved.

Only 18 per cent felt that dashboards would be easy for their organisation to implement, and 23 per cent expected trustees and scheme managers to leave it as late as possible before preparing for dashboards.

The main challenges administrators expected to face when preparing for the dashboards were knowing what is required (49 per cent) and software compatibility (48 per cent), followed by concerns around capacity (33 per cent), cost (33 per cent), data availability (25 per cent) and data accuracy (22 per cent).

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