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Thought leadership

We regularly conduct research and seek insights from outside of NEST. By sharing the results we hope to increase understanding of auto enrolment and the needs of our members and employers.

NEST insight

NEST insight is our annual review of the auto enrolment landscape. It draws on our research and experiences throughout the year with consumers, employers and intermediaries.

When we publish NEST insight each January we also hold a launch event to give an overview of the key findings. The event gets consumers, employers, advisers, policy-makers and influencers together to explore and debate key issues in the market.

See NEST insight 2015 (PDF)

See NEST insight 2014 (PDF)

See NEST insight 2013 (PDF)

Highlights of NEST insight 2015

Support for auto enrolment is at an all-time high, with 77 per cent of consumers agreeing that it’s a good idea. For the second year running, saving for retirement is the third most important spending priority, behind only holidays and saving for a rainy day.

Opt-out rates remain low - 10 per cent overall and 8 per cent among NEST members. Even people who’ve opted out are warming to the idea of auto enrolment. They’re now twice more likely to say they’ll stay in the next time they’re automatically enrolled.

Pensions are seen as the main source of income in retirement. Just 9 per cent say they’ll turn to property for their retirement income compared to 50 per cent who cite a personal or workplace pension.

The introduction of new pension freedoms also seems to be raising the profile of pensions. A third of respondents say they’ll think about planning for retirement sooner as a result. Only 7 per cent of people say they plan to take their whole pot out at once and do whatever they like with it.

Employers using NEST continue to tell us that workplace pensions are important and that they support auto enrolment. Two thirds say that a workplace pension is an important part of the overall package of worker benefits.

Support for auto enrolment is also high among small employers who haven’t been affected by it yet. 86 per cent say they think auto enrolment is a good idea, despite having low pension provision. The majority of employers yet to stage say they don’t currently have an active scheme in place.

Interestingly, over a third of employers using NEST said that other providers they approached were unwilling to enrol their entire workforce.

Around 45,000 small and micro employers come under auto enrolment duties in 2015, and over one million in 2016 and 2017.

Almost three quarters of small and micro employers will turn to an intermediary for support. Of those, over half say they’ll turn to an accountant for help. This increases to 70 per cent for employers with one to four workers. Despite this, accountants currently have far less knowledge about auto enrolment than other professionals helping employers. Just two thirds of accountants claim to know a lot or a fair amount, compared to 90 per cent of IFAs and payroll bureaus.

As auto enrolment has only reached the largest employers, the majority of accountants may not have been asked about it yet. That’s set to change this year and accountants need to be ready.

Read the full NEST insight 2015 report (PDF)


NEST’s Golden Rules of communication: Talking about pensions with a new generation of savers

In May 2013 we held our Golden Rules of communication event giving us the opportunity to share our research on how to talk to new savers about pensions.

We invited guests from across the pensions world to hear about our findings and tell us what they think. As well as presentations on what we've learned about this new audience, there was a panel discussion chaired by Jeff Prestridge of the Mail on Sunday, with experts from across the industry.

We were able to talk about what we've learned and take on board some valuable insights from the guests. The Golden Rules will be a developing set of guidelines, so we're interested to hear what you think of them.

If you've got anything you'd like to tell us about the Golden Rules, we'd like to hear from you. You can contact us at media@nestcorporation.org.uk.

Download NEST's Golden Rules of communication (PDF)

The forum brought together international academics, key industry figures, consumer groups and members of the press to discuss a key issue facing employers and advisers.

This years’ forum looked at the following question:

'How can DC pension providers encourage and enable those approaching retirement to make the best possible decisions on taking their money out of their retirement pots?'

During the forum we explored the issues that new savers brought into auto enrolment will face when they retire.

The aim was to create a better understanding of what this new group of savers will need to think about when they convert their retirement pots into a retirement income, cash sum or transfer.

We explored the emotional and behavioural issues they’ll face and how far engaging early with these savers can encourage better decision making.

Speakers at NEST's 2013 Forum included:

Please note these slides have been produced by external speakers and represent their views, not necessarily those of NEST Corporation. Their inclusion doesn’t constitute an endorsement.

Read NEST's research into retirement decisions (PDF)

View the presentation on NEST's research into retirement decisions (PPT)

You can read the essays that the visiting academics contributed to the forum:

Customer engagement in the annuity market in 2013, Association of British Insurers (PDF)s

Disengagement: a partial solution to the annuity puzzle, Hazel Bateman, Christine Eckhert, John Geweke, Fedor Iskhakov, Jordan Louviere, Stephen Satchell, Susan Thorp (PDF)

Spend more today safely: using behavioural economics to improve retirement expenditure decisions with SPEEDOMETER plans, David Blake, Tom Boardman (PDF)

Private pension wealth among 55-64 year olds in the UK, Paul Cox (PDF)

Applying life-cycle economics: an income-orientated DC retirement solution that integrates accumulation and payout phases, Robert C. Merton (PDF)

You’re a long time retired: making the most of financial and housing assets at retirement, Dr Patrick Nolan (PDF)