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So far TAP ASSIST has created 11 blog entries.

2014 -2015 Earnings triggers are released

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed today that the earnings trigger for automatic enrolment into a pension scheme will rise to £10,000 from April 2014 – The previous figure was £9,440. There are also changes the lower and upper earnings limits (Qualifying Earnings) upon which auto-enrolment contributions are based have been set at £5,772 and £41,865, respectively. Please see the table for the comparison between this current year and next year.

Incidentally it has been reported that this rise will lead to a further 170,000 people falling under the threshold to be auto enroled, most of these will be part time jobs and 120,000 of the are women.

TAP Assist can help you understand all this, please get in contact if you need more information

3 Things You Should Know From Last Week – Ending 13.09.13

Keeping you up to date with the latest Auto Enrolment news and articles, our recommended reading from last week consists of:

FD’s – don’t assume anything about auto enrolment! 

http://dofonline.co.uk/index.php/governance/166-governance-2010/11647-finance-director-and-auto-enrolment-453543

Third of workers demand bosses pay for financial advice – research

http://www.ifaonline.co.uk/ifaonline/news/2293338/third-of-workers-demand-bosses-pay-for-financial-advice-research

Auto-enrolment and the under-prepared SME

http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/blog-post/auto-enrolment-and-under-prepared-sme

The messages in these articles would make great content for an email marketing campaign targeting either existing clients or prospects.  Linking it up with a more extensive blog piece of your own and a call to action to schedule a meeting or call would work very well.  This is a simple way of engaging with your clients and prospects, providing them with valuable up to date knowledge in the process.

Effective Auto Enrolment Communication is Key…

“Constantly talking isn’t necessarily communicating.”

― Charlie Kaufman

According to Scottish Widows’ Workplace Pensions Report 34% of workers had not heard about Auto Enrolment…but according to the DWP they are spending £8.1m on print, online and radio adverts in 2012/13 to tell us about Auto enrolment – Maybe they are saving all their money and are looking to compete with the Christmas rush…? Where did that money go???

The message is clearly not getting through to all employees, but with the “I’m in” campaign being heralded as a success by Steve Webb and quote “…there will be more communications, more campaigns and more household names saying they are ‘in’.” I think it is fair to say that we will be getting a few more celebrity business owners smiling and telling us the magical words we all want to hear…Richard Branson? A.N.Other Dragon? Postcards for any further suggestions please…

Anyway, while we need to do more regarding employee communications,  I have a concern, all this “I’m in” is very employee focused. I feel that the bigger problems is that the message is not getting through to enough employers about the difficulties of Auto Enrolment. We need to find new and different ways to educate and allow them understand the complications that Auto Enrolment can represent to them. We certainly need to reinforce the cost of fines if they get it wrong or worse do nothing! I  spoke with a director/owner of a company recently (42 employees) and he just said “I am having nothing to do with this pension stuff, I am just going to opt out!” clearly this kind and level of understanding could cause employers some problems.

Auto Enrolment is a good idea, I will even stick my neck out and […]

Auto Enrolment News – 3 Things You Should Know From Last Week – ending 06.09.13

Last week’s Auto Enrolment News articles that caught our eye were:

DWP: ‘Less than 10%’ opting out of auto-enrolment

http://www.theactuary.com/news/2013/09/dwp-less-than-10-opting-out-of-auto-enrolment/

This continues the trend seen with some of the bigger employers, a figure much lower than originally forecast.  Will we see this kind of rate as we head towards the SME market?

With 90 per cent remaining in auto enrolment pension schemes, unprepared SMEs could be left with a nasty surprise if they don’t act soon…

http://realbusiness.co.uk/article/23598-auto-enrolment-danger-for-complacent-smes

And finally some examples here from a few Advisers explaining briefly how they charge for Auto Enrolment advice:

http://citywire.co.uk/new-model-adviser/adviser-workshop-how-to-charge-for-auto-enrolment-advice/a699999?ref=new-model-adviser-todays-news-list

This is an area that is of great interest to us and we will shortly be launching an Adviser Workshop series of our own, outlining some simple tips and advice of how Advisers can charge for Auto Enrolment.  The workshops will also highlight where you can outsource certain aspects of the service to add value for themselves and their clients.

Zero Hours Workers and Auto Enrolment

Does it make a difference to Auto Enrolment, if I employ people on zero hours contracts?

One of the most common questions we get asked is “if I employ all my staff on zero hours, can I get out of my Auto Enrolment obligations?”

Well the answer is no!

Zero hours contracts are being increasingly used in a number of sectors that have a need for casual workers on a regular basis. As described in this Lexology article, “The worker is not contracted to work a set number of hours and is only paid for the number of hours he actually works. Some zero hours arrangements will require the worker to be available to work when called upon by the employer. Others are more flexible and the worker is free to accept or refuse work when offered.”

It is important to note that they are still workers for the purpose of Auto Enrolment and that they will need to be assessed along with the rest of the employees. This article makes a suggestion about using Contractual enrolment as a potential solution, thus taking away the need to assess them at every pay reference period – because they will all be in, you will just need to work out how much their contribution is..

BUT here is another thought for the cost conscious among us…

Postponement multi-use

We could try and use postponement: It can be used by an employer on multiple occasions in regards to the same worker. However, it cannot be used consecutively. For example, where an employee has fluctuating earnings and one month earns £800 making them an eligible jobholder, an employer can apply postponement for a period of up to three months. If at the end of the postponement period their earnings […]

Auto Enrolment News – 3 Things You Should Know From Last Week

Our team actively browse the web for interesting and important auto enrolment articles on a daily basis.  Our new feature brings you what we view as the most interesting or note worthy reads of the week.  We know you are busy, let us do the filtering for you.

The majority of what we serve up will be Adviser facing however there will be a good mix of what is important to Employers as they approach their staging dates, perfect information for you to share with your clients or prospects.

Here our our top 3 articles for this week:

PFS: Advisers must grasp ‘huge’ auto-enrol advice opportunity:

http://www.moneymarketing.co.uk/pensions/pfs-advisers-must-grasp-huge-auto-enrol-advice-opportunity/1076341.article

‘Micro Firm’ opportunity for Financial Advisers:

http://www.actuarialpost.co.uk/article/—-039micro-firm—-039-opportunity-for-financial-advisers-5300.htm

Pension Advisers: ‘Our worst fears are developing’:

http://www.ifaonline.co.uk/ifaonline/feature/2290509/pension-advisers-our-worst-fears-are-developing

If you are interested in receiving updates to your inbox relating to auto enrolment news then sign up for our newsletter.  Likewise, why why not follow us on Twitter (@tapassistAE).

 

TAPAssist Workshop Series – Building an Auto Enrolment Marketing Strategy

In order to make the most of the Auto Enrolment opportunity, Advisers must acquire and retain customers.  As a result, marketing and sales need to become an important area of focus.  Creating an effective auto enrolment marketing strategy can be done very quickly and easily using the SOSTAC planning model.

Situation Analysis – Where are we now?

Objectives – Where do we want to go?

Strategy – How do we get there?

Tactics – How exactly do we get there?

Actions – Who does what and when?

Control – How do we measure our success and effectiveness?

This method lays out in logical terms all the things that Advisers should consider when it comes to implementing their auto enrolment marketing strategies or campaigns.  Over the coming weeks we will be looking at the process of building an auto enrolment marketing strategy in much more detail, taking a deeper look at each stage in the process.  We will explain how Advisers can build a marketing approach that will win them new business and maximise the value they can create through their existing relationships and clients.

Many Advisers will already have completed some of the steps, quite possibly subconsciously or have the basics to a plan in their head.  That’s great, however having written it down and documented can help fine tune the strategy (particularly the tactics!) and help the rest of the Adviser business buy in to the bigger picture.  Keep tuned to our blog and follow us on Twitter (@tapassistAE) for the series in the coming days and weeks.

If you haven’t already, now is definitely the time to shift your activity up a notch or 3, the key thing however is not to panic and take a scatter gun approach.  A plan can […]

Auto Enrolment Advice – To Take or Not to Take

Auto Enrolment Advice – To Take or Not to Take…
In an interesting case study released by the pension regulator and highlighted in an article by Professional Pensions, The Kingfisher group (B&Q, Screwfix) have expressed concerns over the high fees that some pension companies are looking to charge. Dermot Coutier of Kingfisher group “My advice for employers out shopping for a pension for their workers is that if your existing provider hasn’t got a cost-effective solution for automatic enrolment or if you are trying to find a pension scheme for the first time, you could consider looking at new entrants to the market-place offering qualifying schemes”

We believe this highlights the need for firms to seek auto enrolment advice from Financial Advisers to ensure that they (and ultimately their employees) are getting a suitable pension scheme. We also believe that the need to plan well in advance is also required (please see our previous blog on the capacity crunch) and having a pension scheme in place well in advance of the staging date (Pension regulator recommends 6 months) will ensure that firms are able to meet their compliance needs.

These messages and the case study from B&Q, Screwfix can be used by Advisers to build powerful marketing messages to help explain that Auto Enrolment is a big issue and should be treated as such.  Many employers are underestimating the work involved in becoming compliant which is why their Advisers should be pro actively approaching them to offer support and auto enrolment advice.

We are currently putting together an Adviser workshop series that will give practical tips as to how an Adviser can incorporate and deliver these marketing messages in to their ongoing communications.  Follow us on twitter (@TAPAssistAE) for news on when the workshops will be […]

Auto Enrolment has led to a million new employees joining pension schemes – Only 12 Million to go…

1 million employees, that is a start.  1 million new employees in pension schemes, saving for their future, putting money away for their old age.  In reality this is from a very small number of very large firms (supermarket chains being the stand out employers) who have been able to put massive resources towards achieving Auto Enrolment compliance – Asda have reportedly spent over £1 million to roll out their compliant solution. These are large companies with deep pockets and large specialist teams (let’s not forget expensive external consultants, lawyers and HR experts!) that they could call on to overcome this business process problem – this is not a pension problem this is about compliance, business processes and administration.

Asda’s Steve Jones, when discussing how they achieved such a low opt out rate, emphasised “the importance of planning in achieving similar results and urged schemes to start their auto-enrolment project at least 12 months in advance but ideally 15”.

So what about the other 12 Million or so employees out there?  There are around 1.1 Million more firms that need to go through Auto Enrolment by 2018, so where do they get their support from? They are going to look to their Accountant or their Financial Adviser.

If you are an Accountant or a Financial Adviser, how comfortable are you that you can deliver a complete compliant solution. As we have said Auto Enrolment is not just about getting a pension in place; assessment, communications, reporting, administration and record keeping are just a few of the tasks within the compliance regime.

Many of the Advisers we have spoken to admit to feeling a bit lost and overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the work involved in providing a full […]

Auto Enrolment Capacity Crunch….Scottish Life Announcement

We mentioned in our previous post there has been widespread predictions of an impending auto enrolment capacity crunch.  Running the risk of saying we told you so……well you get the idea.

Scottish Life today became the first Provider to finally admit that there is indeed a ‘capacity crunch’ and they will turn away any businesses that are less than 6 months away from their staging date unless they adhere to very strict conditions.  This includes clients who already have a Scottish Life pension arrangement!  We are confident that they won’t be the first Provider to set these sorts of parameters and make these announcements.
So what does this mean for Advisers?  Well it illustrates the need for the following:

You should be speaking to your existing clients now!  Many auto enrolment solutions can be put in place straight away but not paid for until the staging date is reached – why wait?

We would suggest looking at independent solutions away from Providers to avoid the worst of the fallout but also to ensure complete impartiality and allow the employer full control over compliance and data

Be proactive in promoting your business as a place Employers can turn to for help.  There will be many Employers who have underestimated where they needed to be in order to be compliant.  You should be out there marketing your business to help these guys and grow your business!

If you know you should be doing all the above but are scratching your head and feeling overwhelmed then please get in touch.  Our services are perfectly aligned to help Adviser businesses and take the burden of Auto Enrolment off their shoulders.  It is now becoming apparent that the Providers will not be in a position to […]