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Name and shame providers that set up “dodgy” auto-enrolment schemes, says minister

Speaking at the National Association for Pension Funds (NAPF) annual conference in Liverpool yesterday evening, pensions minister Steve Webb (pictured) said that while auto-enrolment was a “good news story” for the Government, there was still work to be done on making sure auto-enrolment schemes were of a high quality.

Webb said the introduction of an official kite mark or star rating for pension schemes could be the next logical step.

“We need to focus on the quality of auto-enrolment schemes,” he said. The NAPF introduced a pension quality mark, which Webb called “ahead of its time”, in 2009.

Webb named-checked pension provider Aviva, for publicly promising it would not enrol savers in poor-quality pensions schemes during auto-enrolment. “Will every insurer commit to that?” the minister asked. “I will praise anyone who does and name and shame those who enrol savers into dodgy schemes. We have got one chance – let’s make it work.”

In his largely positive keynote address, Webb was passionate about the progress of auto-enrolment. He said that since RBS began auto-enrolment, the first company to do so, the membership in its pension scheme had risen from 86% to 93%.

“It’s the pension transformation of a generation, a massive social change,” he said. “We need to make workplace pensions the new normal. Let’s work together and make it work, rather than go back to old arguments.”

Webb also told delegates they could expect a white paper on state pensions this side of Christmas, as well as two other important announcements.