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Standard Life removes small firm barriers but retains fee

Standard Life removes small firm barriers but retains fee

Standard Life has removed all the entry criteria for its ‘good to go’ auto-enrolment pension scheme, which the provider says will make it more attractive to small and micro employers.

From the end of March 2015, Standard Life will remove all minimum eligibility criteria. Previously to join the scheme employers had to have a minimum of five members, a set minimum average contribution level, and a limit on the proportion of members on short-term contracts.

A spokesperson for Standard Life told FTAdviser the provider will still “commercially assess prospective clients to determine the terms we offer” and that it will still charge smaller employers for whom it deems the 0.75 per cent charge cap would not be commercially viable.

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Depending on the outcome of the assessment, members of smaller employers could still face a ‘scheme management fee’ of up to £100 per month, making a maximum charge of £1,200 a year.

Standard Life’s ‘scheme management fee’ of £100 per month was first revealed last April and initially applied to smaller employers with modest contributions who had previously agreed terms above the government’s 0.75 per cent scheme charge cap.

The firm said the charge would apply to schemes with fewer than 50 employees and at least £150 per month average contributions after allowing for minimum step ups in 2018.

Alan Ritchie, head of employer and trustee proposition at Standard Life, said: “We believe it’s important that all employers have access to a high quality auto enrolment proposition that can deliver great outcomes for their employees.

“That’s why we’re making our flagship solution available to all employers who haven’t yet staged, no matter what their size.

“Our move addresses the auto-enrolment needs of the 40,000 small and medium-sized employers expected to stage during 2015 and the hundreds of thousands of employers who will stage in 2016 and 2017. Good to Go moves from strength to strength in its ability to ease the enrolment journey for businesses throughout the UK.”

donia.o’loughlin@ft.com