Pensions Regulator 

Auto-enrolment deadline offers advice opportunities

Auto-enrolment deadline offers advice opportunities

Advisers have an opportunity to build new and deeper relationships with employer clients who still need to sign up to auto-enrolment by 2018.

All UK employers whose businesses have been registered no later than September 2017 will have until February next year to provide a suitable workplace pension scheme for their workers.  

Any business registered after October 1 will have to sign up instantly.

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) said in July that there were more than 500,000 employers whose duties were still to begin in the coming months.

Patrick Connolly, head of communications at Chase De Vere, said this presented an opportunity for advisers to help smaller businesses that had not yet signed up to the scheme, although he added smaller firms might find it harder.

Mr Connolly said: “This is a great opportunity, but it might not be practical for smaller companies. Advisers can add value. But some might simply not have the resources to look at other areas. They would need to upskill in other areas or do less in other areas. If the adviser has the resources and experience, it is something they should look into doing.”

Medium-sized and big companies have largely been through the auto-enrolment process.

Businesses that fail to implement their scheme by the due date will face fines of £50 per day for employers with five or fewer employees, rising to £500 per day for larger employers. Any new employer from October 2017 will have an immediate duty to enter the scheme.

The Lighthouse Pensions Trust, which was approved by the TPR in June, says its scheme is designed to remove all of the hassle from the auto-enrolment process for businesses of all sizes, but specifically for small to medium-sized businesses. The trust is run by adviser network Lighthouse Group.

Since the introduction of automatic enrolment, numerous master trusts have entered the pensions market, providing a solution for employers, particularly smaller firms, that want the advantages of a trust-based scheme without the cost and time of setting up and running their own arrangement.

Some master trusts are run by industry bodies; others have been set up by insurance companies and investment and administration managers.

Back in April tougher laws for master trusts were introduced to address concerns that members could be at risk from schemes that did not meet minimum governance standards.