Firms ‘not ready for pensions shake-up’

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More than 18 months since its launch, almost a quarter of businesses in Lancashire have failed to grasp auto enrolment and have little understanding of its impact on their businesses, according to a survey commissioned by Preston based financial advisory firm Taylor Patterson.

Furthermore, only a third of businesses have turned to a regulatory body for guidance, demonstrating the lack of impact the government’s advertising campaigns have had.

Any business that employs staff, regardless of size, will be affected by auto enrolment as they will be required to provide a qualifying workplace pension for their people.

Paul Jackson, employee benefits manager at Taylor Patterson commented: “The survey has highlighted a startling statistic that a quarter of businesses in Lancashire, that’s over 10,000 employers, aren’t even aware of auto enrolment.

“In addition, 62 per cent of respondents said they knew about auto enrolment but felt they needed more information, while only 14 per cent felt confident in their knowledge of the process. With businesses now receiving their staging dates, these are worrying signs that many businesses are failing to grasp the importance of preparing for, introducing and administering, a workplace pension scheme.”

Moreover, the survey highlights the need for more education to encourage businesses to make the first steps in their auto enrolment journey. This is despite a **£3.5m national TV advertising campaign by the government to raise awareness amongst employers.

The Pensions Regulator (thepensionsregulator.gov.uk) as well as NEST, an automatic enrolment pension scheme for UK employers, provides lots of useful information. Employers leaving it late, or who do not seek the correct advice, will run the risk of making errors that will be difficult to correct before their staging date arrives.