01 Mar 2016
It is frightening how time is flying by…… can you believe its almost Easter ?!
It’s a similar story with Auto Enrolment. The Auto Enrolment Staging Dates for the thousands of employers with less than 50 employees are in full swing and in just over a year’s time the final category of employers, those that were established after April 2012, will begin to reach their Staging Dates.
At the same time re-enrolment time is upon the larger employers, which like the original Staging Date project needs planning for well in advance. There are a number of options for employers to choose around re-enrolment and new exempt categories of employees to consider which means it needs advanced planning and a clear employee communication strategy to ensure that everyone knows what will be happening, when and how it will be implemented.
Re-enrolment is also seen as an ideal opportunity to review whether a workplace pension scheme has delivered value for money, particularly considering the efficiency of the contribution payment, joiner, leaver and opt out processes. Since the early years of Auto Enrolment there have been huge developments in solutions to assist employers meet their AE duties and the market is hugely competitive. It also gives employers a chance to review whether their pension scheme’s charges remain competitive, which is key to ensuring the members enjoy as much benefit from the contributions paid as possible.
Pension providers are priming themselves for the reviewing market and we are seeing them offer highly competitive terms to the right employer in an attempt to win their scheme. Its fair to say competition for higher quality schemes has never been greater as fewer of these are now available since the start of auto enrolment. Unless there have been significant service issues with the existing provider or consistently poor returns from its investment fund range n our experience employers don’t generally want to switch their pension scheme to a new provider. As such these reviews are more often used as a leverage with the existing provider to review the existing scheme’s charges to ensure it remains competitive meaning they retain the scheme.
Minimum Contribution Increase
With time seeming to fly by so quickly employers need to remember that in just over 24 months the first minimum contribution increase will be here. Depending on how far in advance an employer budget forecasts and the existing contribution levels being paid this increase may need to be factored into any budget planning sooner rather than later.
This has not only the obvious financial cost implications but it will also have a time cost in that it will need an employee communication strategy. Employers may also want to consider ways in which they can increase employee engagement on pensions to ensure they see a return on this increasing ‘investment’.
If you would like further information and advice on re-enrolment, scheme reviews, contribution changes or workplace pensions in general please contact us at:
01883 332260 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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