The new auto enrolment obligations will impact on employers of all sizes and will be phased in between 2012 and 2016. This will include all workers over 22 but below retirement age, earning over £7,475 a year who don't already have a pension scheme.
NEST will be the default option for employers who do not have or want to use their own pension scheme for auto-enrolment. It is a defined contribution scheme that is designed to be low cost and low risk. It has been designed for those who are starting their pension contributions for the first time, and will move with the individual if they change jobs, become self-employed, or stop working.
They have announced that they will use EIRIS, a responsible investment research organisation, for data on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues for investment. Mark Fawcett from NEST has said: “Our research points to responsible investment providing long-term value, reducing risk and contributing towards better member outcomes". They have also said they will use the data to inform voting decisions they will take as shareholders, and for active engagement policies. NEST is a signatory to the UNPRI.
NEST has a variety of funds for differing retirement dates, and also has ethical, sharia, higher risk and lower risk funds. The ethical fund screens out: tobacco companies, manufacturers of controversial armaments, companies with a poor record of ecological damage and those with an “irresponsible approach to promoting gambling and the sale of alcohol”.