A former Whitehall policy adviser, who was behind key small business reforms, has joined fintech auto enrolment firm Smart Pension as it seeks to play a greater role in the pensions policy debate.
Dan McLaughlin, worked closely with Minister of State for Small Business at the then Department of Innovation and Skills (BIS) on SME policy and strategy and was part of a small team that pushed through a range of reforms to help small business start and scale-up. He also has a varied policy background having also worked on Further Education and Skills policy reforms, red-tape challenges, and the Sharing Economy.
Dan has been brought into the highly automated workplace pension firm, which specialises in offering pension schemes for small and medium-sized businesses, to head up its policy and public affairs and international teams, and will be based at its Paddington headquarters.
In particular, Dan will be working on advisory papers for the upcoming Pension Schemes Bill, the auto enrolment review as well as Matthew Taylor's review of modern employment practices - and is vocal on the issue of pensions for the self-employed.
Dan said: "2017 is a massive year for auto enrolment on all sorts of levels. The number of small businesses expected to enrol this year is exploding, more than doubling the number last year. Auto enrolment is also undergoing a thorough review, the Pension Schemes Bill is a game-changer Bill and one that we wholeheartedly support. Part of that debate will be around how larger master trusts will be deemed qualified to absorb the hundreds of small DC schemes and tiny master trusts struggling to meet new adequate standards of governance and administration."
"We're pushing for the Pensions Regulator's own Master Trust Assurance Framework (MAF) to be written into the primary legislation to cover this off. We think there could be an urgent need to implement some interim measures to simplify the process of transferring members from a failing master trust or DC scheme to a healthy one."
"I'll also be offering insight into how auto enrolment can be extended to the self-employed and the low-paid. We believe there are strong arguments for this. Self-employment is at record levels totalling 4.75m and self-employment has also accounted for nearly half of the increase in total employment since the recession, yet a million of them have made no provision for their retirement."
"Smart Pension is unique in that it's a fintech firm that is tackling the current pension issues this country is facing right now with fresh eyes and energy. I'm really excited to be part of it."
Will Wynne, co-founder and MD of Smart Pension said: "Dan brings a wealth of knowledge around SME policy-making and beyond. His insight is invaluable as we strive to ensure auto enrolment is a success for the long-term."
Launched in 2015, Smart Pension exceeds £4bn in assets under management (AUM) and now serves over one million members and more than 70,000 employers. It is powered by Keystone, Smart’s global savings and investments technology platform.
Aquiline Capital Partners, Barclays, Chrysalis Investments, DWS Group, Fidelity International Strategic Ventures, J.P. Morgan, Legal & General Investment Management, Link Group and Natixis Investment Managers are all investors in Smart Pension.