The Pensions Regulator’s first tranche of research suggests employers are confident about their role in company pensions, but industry views differ

A pensions consultancy firm has questioned research from the Pensions Regulator (TPR) that shows almost all employers are confident they are complying with their pensions responsibilities under auto-enrolment.

A total of 96% of employers surveyed by the watchdog said that they were confident they complied with the regulation. Many said that they found auto-enrolment easier than expected, with two-thirds of micro-businesses saying they required no external help.

Darren Ryder, director of automatic-enrolment at TPR said that the figures showed that automatic enrolment “is now simply part of running a business and that most employers have found meeting their duties less complicated than they expected.”

“It is encouraging that so many employers are confident they are doing the right thing for their staff,” he added.

But Rob Thomas, associate at consultant Barnett Waddingham was less convinced by the findings, saying that he found them “a little overly positive”.

Thomas said: “There is a difference between having ‘awareness’ and ‘knowing’ what each of the five ongoing duties for AE means. TPR’s detailed guidance for auto-enrolment runs to over 300 pages and I have only met one employer so far who has read all of the detailed guidance.”

Thomas was more reassured by TPR’s figure that showed micro employers spending an average of half an hour each month meeting their duties. He said that the figure matched similar findings from Barnett Waddingham’s own research.

“Once an employer has established a defined contribution workplace pension scheme, to meet its auto-enrolment duties, the ongoing auto-enrolment maintenance should be relatively light - particularly for SMEs,” he sad