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Adviser Workshop: How to approach firms about auto-enrolment

Adviser Workshop: How to approach firms about auto-enrolment

Mark Cardy (pictured), Peter Chadborn and Paul Scott give their top tips on how to approach employer clients about auto-enrolment.

Mark Cardy

Director, Skerritts Chartered Financial Planners

First we had to understand the new legislation in terms of fees and potential clients. Then we worked out who our target clients were, the size of their companies, what services they would pay for and what they valued.

There were two routes to access these clients. One was through our existing client bank. We have lots of clients we might not have talked to about pensions, but we would advise them in other areas. When proposing this kind of work, you should treat them as if they are new clients.

We also gained clients via accountants, solicitors, human resources and business advisers. Most people think auto-enrolment is a pensions issue, but it is more like a compliance issue.

Social media and seminars

We do a lot of press articles over a range of different businesses for local magazines. We have a regular set of targeted email updates, including one on auto-enrolment. We also tweet and use Facebook.

Presentations, such as the large seminar we held at Brighton and Hove Albion’s stadium with pensions guru Steve Bee, are great for getting people through the door.

Peter Chadborn

Director, Plan Money

We have found most of our potential business is under our noses, with existing clients.

A lot of my clients are small business owners like me. I may be advising them about their personal finances, but they will be aware that auto-enrolment is something they have to deal with seriously in the next six months to a year.

Relationship maintenance

I would rather our existing advisers dealt with them rather than recruit an auto-enrolment specialist. An existing relationship is more effective than cold-calling.

At our firm, we have four advisers running at decent capacity, and we will make sure we provide a decent service to clients rather than get someone else to talk to them about auto-enrolment.

The whole process is about client retention. As we do not have an adviser in a specialist auto-enrolment role, auto-enrolment advice is a balanced part of our remit.

Paul Scott

Adviser and director of employee benefits, Pearson Jones

We know all our clients. If we have an agenda, we talk to them about it.

Apart from that, we try to get in front of people via professional connections, particularly via our accountants. That has been our route to market in general: accountants and lawyers have been a great help for word-of-mouth referrals.

Local press and word of mouth

We have also done a lot of local press in Yorkshire, the North East and Reading.

In the North, we have used an online business news portal called The Business Desk. We did a few presentations with it and advertised through it as well.

Word of mouth seems to be the most straightforward way of getting through to people. What we have not done is cold-call or blanket mail employers: we did not think it had the personal touch.

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