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Press comment: Auto-enrolment is a clear success but allowing young people to use their pension pot for housing is ludicrous


If you are covering the workplace pension participation and saving trends statistics published today by the DWP, please see the following comment from Ian Browne, pensions expert at Quilter:

Ian Browne"Once again the annual workplace pension figures published today are encouraging to say the least. The number of eligible employees participating in a workplace pension in 2018 has continued its upward trend and is now up 3% from last year.

"There can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that this success is largely down to auto-enrolment. A positive point to make is that persistency levels - the amount of employees who have saved into a pension in at least three of the last four years - have only dropped a couple of points. It means around £7bn more is being saved in 2018 compared 2017,  now totalling £90.4bn annually. There have been fears that as auto enrolment matures drop-out rates may rise but that doesn’t appear to be the case. However, it is important to note that these figures don’t show any impact that contribution rate increases in April this year may have had. It is crucial that savers keep contributing and resist the temptation to opt out when they see a larger chunk of their pay directed into the their pension.

"Another marker of AE’s success is that the largest increase in participation was in the 22 to 29 age bracket where 90 per cent of eligible employees were participating in a workplace pension in 2018, which is a huge rise of nearly 11 percentage points since 2012. As we know saving early is a crucial ingredient in building up a healthy retirement pot. This kind of success underlines the need for continuity and stability for pensions policy and throws serious doubt over ideas that young people should be able to use their pension pot to fund their first property purchase, as suggested in a recent speech by Communities secretary James Brokenshire’s speech.

"While Brokenshire is right to think of different ways to try and tackle Britain’s housing crisis it would be ludicrous to think that enabling people to raid their pension pots early on in life represented a good solution. Allowing a policy like this to be enacted would allow for short term gain but ultimately cause a huge degree of long term pain. Even with auto-enrolment dramatically helping to increase the number of people saving into a pension, the actual amount people are saving is still small, especially for younger workers with lower salaries. If you were able to empty your pot to buy a house, people may end up being required to work well into their late seventies.

"The figures are clear; AE is working well for typical workers at the moment. While there is still more to be done to make sure other types of workers like the self-employed also are building up retirement provision, we should not mess around with something that is making a tangible difference to the retirement prospects of a huge percentage of the nation"

For more information contact

Alex Berry023 8072 626007741

Notes to Editors:

About Quilter plc:

Quilter plc is a leading wealth management business in the UK and internationally, helping to create prosperity for the generations of today and tomorrow.

Quilter plc oversees £95.3 billion in customer investments (as at 31 March 2020).

It has an adviser and customer offering spanning: financial advice; investment platforms; multi-asset investment solutions; and discretionary fund management.

The business is comprised of two segments: Advice and Wealth Management and Wealth Platforms.

Advice and Wealth Management encompasses the financial advice business, Quilter Financial Planning; the discretionary fund management business, Quilter Cheviot; and Quilter Investors, the Multi-asset investment solutions business.

Wealth Platforms includes Old Mutual Wealth UK platform and Quilter International, including AAM Advisory in Singapore.

The Old Mutual Wealth Heritage life assurance business was acquired by ReAssure Group Plc on 2 January 2020.

Since its IPO in June 2018, Quilter plc’s businesses have progressively rebranded to Quilter, as follows: 

  • Quilter Financial Planning (previously Intrinsic)
  • Quilter Private Client Advisers (previously Old Mutual Wealth Private Client Advisers)
  • Quilter Financial Advisers (previously Charles Derby Group)
  • Quilter Financial Adviser School
  • Quilter Cheviot
  • Quilter Investors
  • Old Mutual Wealth (becoming Quilter Investment Platform in 2020)
  • Quilter International (previously Old Mutual International)

This press release is for journalists only and should not be relied upon by financial advisers or customers.

Please remember that past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up and investors may not get back any of the amount originally invested. Exchange rate changes may cause the value of overseas investments to rise or fall.

This communication is issued by Quilter plc.  Registered office: Millennium Bridge House, 2 Lambeth Hill, London EC4V 4AJ, United Kingdom. Registered number: 6404270.  Registered in England.