It's Not Automatic

In 2012 there were 4.8 million businesses in the UK with over 99% small or medium sized (SME), employing less than 250 people.

From April 2014, these SME's will start to need a workplace pension scheme that meets qualifying standards. Failure to provide this will lead to fines of up to £2,500 - a day!

Employers will automatically enrol workers, that meet qualifying criteria, into a workplace pension and although employees are able to 'opt out', should this be encouraged, again hefty fines can be levied.

This is no longer new information and schemes have been live since October 2012. However, what many businesses may not appreciate is the difficulties that they may face when trying to place their workplace pension scheme with a provider.

Our previous 'rule of thumb' was for businesses to start planning at least 12 months in advance of their staging date. However, experience has shown that apart from cleansing payroll data and communicating to staff, not a lot else can be achieved until the scheme provider offers terms which is generally now around 3 months before staging date.

Auto Enrolment will create demand of around 30,000 new schemes in this year alone, yet most scheme providers will only have the capacity for 400 with one provider intending on closing it's doors once it reaches 350.

This is already causing a bottle neck in the system we warned back in the Autumn with scheme providers 'cherry picking' the most profitable schemes.

By 2050, the ratio of those of working age to pensioners will be 2 to 1. The current system can no longer support future retirement incomes and people simply do not make adequate provision themselves.

Our advice; secure a qualified adviser now, cleanse your data early, talk to your staff, let them know what's happening and then start funding your employees pensions as early as you can. Make it part of their package of benefits because some day very soon, it will be compulsory.