The Synaptic guide to Auto Enrolment

The role of Synaptic in group pension research

Synaptic is the industry's leading product and fund research tool, with over 8,000 users, having launched as the first automated research tool in the early 90's. The profile of user tends to be the traditional IFA or paraplanner, providing holistic advice across a range of products for the most part, including a significant amount of pension and investment business.

Analysing a batch of M.I. produced by a sample of Synaptic users shows us that this group are comfortable and successful in advising on group schemes. Our assumption therefore is that this group will be well positioned to take advantage of the opportunity offered by auto enrolment. This observation is behind our decision to produce this guide, which offers expert views from a range of perspectives.

Synaptic provides visibility of the market in terms of the options available, and the means to ensure that advice is suitably tailored to the clients requirement.

We looked at a sample of over 1600 group pension cases over 12 months, as performed by Synaptic users. Aegon and Aviva (with the highest average case size) took the lion's share of the business, Scottish Life, Standard Life and Scottish Widows forming a second tier. All the above companies are focussed on supporting advisers with propositions that have consumed considerable investment, underlining the serious commitment that providers are making in this respect.

The table below provides an analysis of features that were applied in the group pension research, offering an insight to the priorities required by our advisers' clients.

Transfer out no penalty 43.27%
Accept transfers in 41.42%
Switching option 40.86%
Payment frequency options: Monthly 40.37%
Early retirement no penalty 39.51%
Return of fund on death 39.26%
Payment frequency options 39.14%
Payment methods 38.95%
Online services 36.85%
Paid up no penalty 35.93%
Transfer out no penalty: At any time 35.68%
Payment methods: Direct debit 33.64%
Early retirement no penalty: At any time 31.30%
Paid up no penalty: At any time 30.86%
Premium holiday no penalty 30.80%
Lifestyle strategy 30.06%
Reducible contributions no penalty 29.44%
Stakeholder options 27.35%
Online services: Investment statement/fund valuations 26.85%
Reducible contributions no penalty: At any time 26.23%
Premium holiday no penalty: At any time 25.99%
Accept protected rights 24.26%
Switching option: All switches free 21.85%
Online services: Switch facility 17.72%
Online services: Projected illustrations 16.11%


Below are two screenshots showing Synaptic Research methodology. The initial screen shows the products available and a reference grid being formed showing product filters. The second screen shows ranking being applied to identify the most suitable recommendation.

 Group personal pension - features

 Group personal pension - Total score

Any advisers who do not have access to Synaptic and are preparing for the opportunity of auto enrolment can call 0800 7834477.