At Smart Pension we often get asked, "How do we break into the auto enrolment market and make it a profitable success within our business?". The answer is simple. Choose the right provider, and work closely alongside them.
See our top 5 tips below to get you started on the right track:
1. Have a close working relationship with your auto enrolment provider. Your auto enrolment provider will be an invaluable part of your workplace pension journey, they can provide practical support in relation to payroll queries, fund information and statutory communications.
2. Have a clear process in place. This may go without saying, but a reccurring issue we see whilst working with accountants and IFAS - is that members of the same firm all approach auto enrolment with a different process. We find our most successful Accountancy and IFA firms, who have landed successfully in the auto enrolment arena, usually have a designated professional assigned specially to deal with AE queries. Our team at Smart Pension can work with your company to set up an effective process that works for you.
3. Maintain a good level of knowledge around regulatory requirements, and what it takes for your client to be fully compliant. Don't forget, your client has responsibilities after the initial scheme has been set up. An employer's duties do not end after their staging date. You can help your client avoid penalties by understanding how they must meet their duties. Your client must:
- Keep Records of their automatic enrolment activities (this includes the names and addresses of staff they've enrolled, records of when contributions were paid into a pension scheme, staff opt-in notices, pension scheme reference or registry numbers and information sent to the pension provider) for six years and opt-out notices for four years.
- Monitor the ages and earnings – continually assess staff, new and existing, and check their automatic enrolment eligibility every month (some payroll software can help them do this). As staff become eligible they will need to be enrolled.
- Enrol staff and write to them to let them know how automatic enrolment applies to them as they become eligible.
- Pay contributions to their pension scheme. We often come across schemes that have fallen behind due to direct debits not being set up or claimed correctly. If you become aware of any issues with regular contributions not being made, please speak to your local Smart Pension representative who will be able to guide you through the next steps.
4. Understanding your role and service level offering. Accountants and IFAs offer a varied level of services in relation to what they will and will not do on their client's behalf. This is a grey area for lots of accountants and is definitely a question we get asked regularly. Our advice is to be very clear on what you plan to offer to your clients. You are permitted to provide your clients with information of different pension providers, but must not recommend a provider unless you are authorised by the FCA. At Smart Pension, we can work with you to set in place profitable working processes and help you set in place your desired ongoing process in terms of training on our platform and integration with your payroll software.
5. Be aware of the process for re-enrolment. Automatic re-enrolment is the process where your client must re-enrol certain staff into a pension scheme that is suitable for automatic enrolment purposes, if they're not already active members of one. Re-enrolment takes place every three years, and also happens on an immediate basis if a worker or the pension scheme meets certain criteria. Your client must choose a re-enrolment date that falls anywhere within a six-month timeframe. This starts three months before the third anniversary of their original staging date, and ends three months after it. For further information, contact your local Smart Pension representative.