13% of companies ‘missing AE deadline’

One in three companies meeting their auto-enrolment deadline are establishing a scheme either very close to or after the date has passed, according to Now: Pensions.

The master trust provider says 32 per cent of those that staged with it in the second quarter of 2015 completed their application either very close to their staging date or after the deadline had passed.

It found 13 per cent did not get in contact until after their staging date had passed, while 19 per cent contacted the provider within a month before their staging date.

NowP table
NowP table

But 30 per cent of firms signed up six months or more ahead of their staging date while 16 per cent took action between one and two months ahead of their staging date.

Research Now: Pensions conducted with firms yet to stage revealed that 12 per cent of companies plan to search the market themselves, up from just 4 per cent of firms surveyed in 2014. But 84 per cent of IFAs are concerned that employers lack the knowledge to make informed decisions on the appropriate auto enrolment solution for their employees.

Now: Pensions CEO Morten Nilsson says: “So far this year a good number of employers are planning ahead, but those coming on board early are typically receiving support either from intermediaries or payroll providers. However, our research shows that as time goes by, an increasing number of smaller companies will be navigating auto enrolment without the benefit of an expert guide. 

“Many could face fines if they are late either through lack of knowledge or because they believe their current provider will accept them, which they may not.

“To support these firms, and prevent them making an uninformed decision which could have a long-term impact on the financial security of their employees, pension providers need to be clear about whether they will accept these firms and The Pensions Regulator needs to drive awareness of the high quality providers available.”