As a UK employer, it is your legal duty to auto-enrol employees in a workplace pension scheme. Choosing the right pension provider is crucial to safeguard your employees’ investment, demonstrate your commitment as a responsible employer and complement your business’ overall financial strategy.
Before choosing a pension provider for auto-enrolment, consider factors like overall pension fund performance, the range of investment options, fees and charges, compliance with the auto-enrol scheme rules, and the provider’s track record with workplace pensions.
Your choice of pension provider will have a big impact on your staff and business, so it’s no wonder the decision can seem daunting. We’ve produced this helpful guide to help you select the right pension provider for your business.
Does auto-enrolment apply to all employers?
Auto-enrolment is a legal obligation for all UK employers, from large corporations to small businesses. Employers must provide pension savings options to employees to contribute towards their long-term financial security when they reach state pension age.
If you are a business owner that employs staff (even just one), you must determine their eligibility and automatically enrol them into an employer’s workplace pension scheme if they fit the criteria.
This goes for full-time employees and part-time workers who meet the criteria, which include age and earnings threshold (see below).
The pensions regulator oversees the auto-enrolment process, so you must have a good working knowledge of the regulations to ensure your compliance. That is why seeking the advice of a professional accountant or financial adviser is a wise move.
What is the eligibility criteria for automatic enrolment?
You must auto-enrol your employees who meet the following criteria:
- Full-time or part-time employees
- Aged between 22 and State Pension age
- Earning at least £10,000 per year
- Usually work within the UK
For more guidance on point 4 and who is considered a ‘worker’, see gov.uk.
When do I need to set up a workplace pension scheme?
For employers who started their business after the 1st of April 2012, the deadline for setting up a workplace pension scheme under auto-enrolment regulations, known as the ‘staging date’, is the day the first employee is hired.
Choosing a suitable workplace pension provider and starting the pension scheme by this date is crucial to ensure you meet your auto-enrolment duties.
How much are employers’ contributions?
Both the employer and employee must pay contributions to the pension scheme following auto-enrolment. In April 2019, employer contributions were set at a minimum of 3% and employee pay contributions at a minimum of 5%.
Types of workplace pensions
Employers have two main options when choosing a workplace pension scheme for auto-enrolment: government-backed schemes and private pension providers.
Government-backed pension schemes
These are typically straightforward and designed to meet auto-enrolment requirements easily. An example is the government’s National Employment Savings Trust (NEST). NEST is accessible to all employers and offers a simple, low-cost option for setting up a workplace pension.
Private pension providers
This includes a range of financial institutions like banks, insurance companies, and investment firms. They often offer more diverse investment options and flexibility regarding scheme rules and pension contributions. However, fees and charges and the level of employer involvement can vary more significantly compared to government-backed schemes.
What should employers look for in pension providers?
Choosing the right pension provider for auto-enrolment is crucial. Employers should consider several key factors to select the most suitable option for their employees’ future pension pot.
Overall pension fund performance
Assess the historical performance of the pension funds. While past performance isn’t a guaranteed predictor of future success, it can give insights into the provider’s investment expertise.
A good provider should offer investment options to suit varying risk tolerance levels and strategies. This variety is crucial for catering to your employees’ diverse financial goals and circumstances.
Fees and charges
Seek to understand the fee structure of the pension scheme. Look for transparency in how fees and charges are imposed and how they impact overall pension savings. The tax relief method used by the pension provider can also affect the net benefit to the employees.
Considering these factors will help you choose a pension provider that not only meets the automatic enrolment duties but also supports the long-term financial well-being of your employees.
Who can help me choose a pension provider?
Selecting the right pension provider is a significant decision; getting expert advice can be invaluable. During your research, consider reaching out to the following professionals and organisations.
A financial advisor: An experienced financial advisor can provide personalised advice, helping you navigate various pension schemes and investment options. They can also explain the details of employer contributions, tax relief methods, and the implications for your employees’ pension savings.
Pensions Regulator: The Pensions Regulator offers guidance and resources for employers about automatic enrolment and workplace pension schemes. They can help you understand your legal obligations, the eligibility criteria and the auto-enrolment process.
An accountant: An experienced accountant, like Jameco Group, can offer guidance on setting up your employer’s pension scheme. We will gain a complete understanding of your business finances and help align your pension strategy with your financial goals.
How can Jameco Group help me?
Jameco Group offers comprehensive support in selecting workplace pension providers for auto-enrolment.
Here’s how we can assist:
- Guidance on pension schemes: We provide expert advice on selecting and managing workplace pension schemes. While we don’t offer specific investment advice, we can help you understand the differences and benefits of government-backed schemes and private providers.
- Ensuring compliance: Our team will ensure that your pension scheme meets all the legal requirements set by the Pensions Regulator, such as the proper enrolment of eligible workers, guidance on qualifying earnings and adherence to the minimum contribution levels.
- Integration with business finances: We assist in integrating your choice of pension scheme with your overall financial planning, focusing on how employer contributions and scheme rules impact your company’s financial health.
- Financial adviser referral: We can refer you to qualified financial advisors who can offer specialist investment advice
By choosing Jameco Group, you can be assured that your workplace pension scheme is compliant and effectively integrated into your broader business strategy.
Contact us today to arrange a consultation.
Employers have a legal responsibility to help their employees save for retirement, and choosing a suitable pension scheme is crucial. A well-chosen workplace pension scheme is more than a legal requirement; it invests in your employees’ future and reflects your commitment as an employer.
At Jameco Group, we provide essential guidance on complying with scheme rules and meeting your automatic enrolment duties. Whether you’re a small employer or managing a larger workforce, our expertise can assist you in setting up a pension scheme that aligns with your business structure and your employees’ long-term financial goals.