Eric Clapton calls for new perspective on auto-enrolment

ACCOUNTANTS should alter their perspective on auto-enrolment to maximise business opportunities, according to Eric Clapton.

Clapton Consultants; the chartered accountancy practice specialising in the financial services sector has responded to an industry survey from The Pensions Regulator suggesting that the level of interest in auto-enrolment among financial advisers has fallen markedly over the last twelve months.

The survey revealed that a growing number of advisers no longer view auto-enrolment as a business opportunity. However, HM Treasury recently issued an open consultation entitled “Introducing a Pensions Advice Allowance” which suggests there are further opportunities for accountants and IFAs to explore in this area.

The consultation document suggests that the tax free pensions allowance of £500 per individual may be used in conjunction with the tax exempt allowance of £500 for employer arranged advice.  This provides a maximum tax advantaged allowance for retirement advice of £1,000 per pension member.  The measures are scheduled to be in place by April 2017.

Eric Clapton, MD of Clapton Consultants said: “Government strategy is to use employers as a conduit to provide financial advice to many more people.  Plugging the advice gap is a major objective and HM Treasury is willing to sanction tax breaks to achieve that aim.

“Every accountancy practice has business clients who are affected by auto enrolment legislation. Collaboration between accountants and regulated advisers will maximise the commercial reward afforded by this government sponsored opportunity. Notwithstanding the fact that margins on workplace pension advice are under serious downward pressure, ignoring this area of business could be a costly mistake.”

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