SMEs lack auto-enrolment awareness, say advisers

Only one in 100 independent financial advisers (IFAs) believe small businesses are well prepared for auto-enrolment into workplace pensions, a new study has revealed.

The survey for business software specialists Sage UK of more than 200 IFAs also found just one in five (21 per cent) agreed that small firms were aware of auto-enrolment, even though by April 2015 around 8,000 businesses with between 50 and 249 employees must have their eligible workers enrolled into a qualifying workplace pension.

The survey findings, published on 25 June, revealed that 25 per cent of IFAs were not providing any advice on auto-enrolment currently and just under a third (29 per cent) said auto-enrolment was not a priority for their clients.

In a separate survey of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners in the UK, Sage found just one in five small SMEs had spoken to an IFA about auto-enrolment in the last 12 months.

Jonathan Dowden, auto-enrolment expert at Sage UK, said: “The Pensions Regulator recommends preparing for auto-enrolment at least 12 months before your staging date, so from these findings it’s clear there is an alarming proportion of businesses with their head in the sand.”

Link: Auto-enrolment advice for employers