Auto Enrolment

Auto Enrolment

When should you start preparing your company for Auto-Enrolment?

Auto Enrolment, Business, Pensions
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When should you start preparing your company for Auto-Enrolment?

Whether you want to set up pensions for your employers or not, Auto-Enrolment is here to stay.  The question is not if but when should you start preparing to set up a workplace pension for you company.

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) recommends that companies should start preparing with 18 months to go until your staging date. So far with the companies I’ve spoken with it looks like more and more are waiting to the last minute.  Business is tight and there seems to be no time to spare for the inevitable.

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The simple answer is the sooner the better.

The more time you have to prepare the better your pension solution will be. Remember automatic enrolment is more than a pension problem.  It is likely to involve your accounts department (or Accountant) and HR before you even get to the pension solution.  I’ll stick to the pensions issue for now.

If you take the time to prepare and analyse your workforce properly you may be able to save a small fortune by categorising your workforce appropriately.  Ultimately though my experience so far is that many employers are going to try and save a few pound by going down the DIY route by playing eeney meeney miney mo with pension providers.

As long as you fulfil your Auto-Enrolment obligations, right?.. Wrong!

In 5-10 years most of the Northern Ireland workforce will have been auto-enrolled into their company pensions. At first many won’t have a clue what they have got and many of them won’t care.  After a few years workers will get educated, not only with what they have got but what their friends have got at your competitor down the road.

If you want to be the company everyone wants to work for, a good pension scheme is going to be high on the list of criteria.

Check out our 5 Top Tips For Employers On Auto Enrolment.

If you would like to make sure your company remains ahead of the competition then give us a call on  02895 815000.  We will work with you and your team to make sure you get the best workplace pension solution for your company’s future.

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Auto Enrolment – The Statistics One Year On

Auto Enrolment, Business
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Auto Enrolment – The Statistics One Year On

1st of October marked the first anniversary of Auto Enrolment and the government’s workplace pension reform.  Due to the average size of companies in Northern Ireland we are only beginning to see companies taking action and getting prepared for Automatic Enrolment so it is worth looking at the stats so far from across the UK in our handy infographic.

Auto Enrolment - One year in

Source: Professional Pensions – Figures correct as of 1/10/13

As of the 1st October these are the numbers that define Automatic Enrolment.

Employers auto-enrolled 2,256
Employers staging between Jan-Jul ’14 29,000
Overall opt-out rate according to the DWP 9%
TPR investigations into non-compliance 89
TPR warning letters 38
TPR compliance notices 1
Estimated set-up costs for all employers £15.4bn
Proportion of employers using the NEST who spent more than 10 months preparing for AE 53%


It is clear that things are only beginning to heat up so if you need some help with preparing your company for auto enrolment then call us on 02895 815000 and get prepared as early as possible.  It can take over 6 months to prepare for auto-enrolment  and some pension providers won’t even consider companies with less than this to their staging date.

Should employers be concerned about Auto Enrolment capacity crunch?

Auto Enrolment, Business
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Should employers be concerned about Auto Enrolment capacity crunch?

Auto Enrolment Northern Ireland

Pension providers across the UK have been warning employers, financial advisers, employee consultants and pretty much anyone who will listen about the oncoming ‘capacity crunch’ regarding Auto Enrolment.  The question is should we be concerned? In short, Yes.

The only provider on the market that has a legal responsibility to take all employers is NEST.  Every other provider on the market will pick and choose their clients just like any other business.  The problem lies in the number of businesses these few providers will have to choose from, every business in the UK and Northern Ireland!

Back in July Scottish Life started warning that they would only accept employers that started to plan with at least 6 months to run until their staging date and more recently the have warned that they may exit the market in 2015 or sooner if they feel the business is not profitable.  This poses a problem for small to medium sized employers (SMEs) in that the ABI (Association of British Insurers) only lists a total of 10 member providers in the Auto Enrolment market.  There are a few other non ABI member providers out there but this does not answer the problem that the number of companies to be auto enrolled per month could potentially far outstrip the supply.

The best thing any employer can do is get prepared early with good quality independent advice to have the best chance of providing a company pension scheme that works both for them as an employer and for their employees.

Images courtesy of J.Reed on Flickr

Auto Enrolment Solutions For Small Business | Workplace Pension Design

Auto Enrolment
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Auto Enrolment Solutions For Small Business

Workplace Pension Design

Two employees discussing Workplace PensionsAt From Acorns Financial Planning Ltd we offer small to medium sized employer’s (SME) a clear and concise Workplace Pension Auto Enrolment service.

Although many large employers have passed their staging date and are in full swing in terms of automatic enrolment most employers are only at the beginning of their journey.  The Pensions Regulator (TPR) continues to update their guidance for employers and our independent Financial Advisors at From Acorns Financial Planning can help guide you through the maze by providing practical help to those who are not sure how, when and where to start.

We provide SME’s with help and professional advice to help them understand the impact of automatic enrolment on their business and their duties going forward.  With our guidance together we will design a suitable automatic enrolment solution for you to meet you Workplace Pension reform duties.

Our Auto Enrolment Advice service will:

  • Gather all the required  information
  • Detail your specific staging date
  • Review any current pension schemes and assess their suitability
  • Assess your workforce
  • Provide precise guidance and support through the implementation phase

5 Top Tips For Employers On Auto Enrolment

Auto Enrolment
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5 Top Tips For Employers On Auto Enrolment

It is essential not to underestimate the challenge Auto Enrolment poses for employers, both large and small, however tackled in the correct manner and it could be rewarding for both employers and employees. Here are 5 top tips for employers to follow to ease the transition.

A small Businessman pondering AutoEnrolment

1. Learn and understand your auto enrolment deadlines:

Each employer has been, or soon will be, given a Staging Date based on their number of employees on 1st April 2012. It takes 12 to 18 months to prepare for Automatic Enrolment and many employers find their staging date is earlier than they thought so get like the scouts and be prepared.

2. Nominate a point of contact as soon as possible:

Better still implement a project team including your payroll and HR people and a ideally Professional Adviser to act as co-ordinator to ensure all the affected roles understand and agree upon each decision.

3. Agree an auto enrolment implementation schedule:

If you have an existing workplace pension scheme you will need to review it to see if it is fit for purpose, requires tweaking or a complete overhaul. Every employee must be assessed and categorised to decide who will be auto enrolled and who will not.

4. Make sure your payroll systems can cope:

You will need implement procedures to identify the eligibility of every single employee, deduct the correct levels of contribution and produce the relevant communications at the right time and on each pay period, be that weekly, four weekly, monthly or any combination of these. Manual data manipulation may be required and will require strict procedures

5. Install processes and implement staff communication:

One of the key methods to easing the transition for your employees will involve consulting with staff right from Day 1 and throughout the Auto Enrolment process. Employees will have questions and it is imperative that you provide these answers proactively or you risk being inundated with queries and concerns later.

There are many other factors to consider such as should you use postponement? Is salary sacrifice suitable for your company? What about data protection issues? But then these are simply our 5 top tips and we would be more than happy to speak to you if you have any questions.