SMEs switch AE providers demanding better value for money

Holly Roach reports...

More than half of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have swapped their auto-enrolment (AE) provider, seeking better value for money.

Welplan Pensions’ research has revealed 54% of SMEs have already changed their AE provider and 49% are planning to do so in the future, with a fifth of that being within the next six months – before employers and employee pension contributions jump to 8%.

Working with Opinium to conduct the research in September and October this year, the master trust Welplan questioned 500 senior decision-makers, including managing directors and heads of finance at SMEs.

Some 40% of the business that are planning to switch cited value for money as the main reason, while 35% cited investment performance. Quality of communication for members was listed as the main reason to switch by 29% of those decision-makers.

Welplan Pensions chief executive Bruce Kirton said: “Business owners want value for money. It’s the main reason why there is such a high level of switching.

“Smaller business owners are savvy and well-advised. They know what to look for in their auto-enrolment provider and how to get their needs met. Everyone in the pensions industry should now see switching as the norm.”

Respondents that have already switched AE provider were particularly pronounced in construction and IT services.

Some 38% of respondents have no plans to switch provider in the future, with around a quarter of these stating they were unaware of the option to switch.