Advisers should prepare for auto-enrolment boom

MORE than 99% of UK businesses now urgently need to prepare for the auto-enrolment of their employees into pension schemes as staging deadlines loom next year, and accountancy firms are likely to be drafted in to help with arrangements.

Approximately 28,000 businesses have been automatically enrolled in workplace pensions since the scheme began two years ago, but the financial services sector is bracing itself for a slew of requests as companies with 30-49 employees must prepare for their staging dates between August and October 2015.

For businesses with fewer than 30 workers, staging as could begin as early as June 2015 if pre-selected by the regulator for early staging, or otherwise from November 2015 through to 2017.

The Pensions Regulator estimates that as much as 20% of small employers and almost half of micro-employers are unaware of their staging dates. Many assume their staging date is based solely on their current number of employees rather than those recorded in April 2012 via their PAYE number.

CEO of financial adviser Lighthouse Group Malcolm Streatfield said: “Accountants should be prepared to field rising levels of urgent requests for auto-enrolment information from their SME clients over the next few months, as many businesses still have little idea of their deadlines or responsibilities.

“Just like Christmas shopping, even those that are aware will still leave it to the last minute regardless, and accountants should be ready to direct them towards an adviser or the Pensions Regulator for more information.”

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