Friends Life announced that its full auto-enrolment solution is now live. The solution includes a purpose-built online hub (assessing employers’ payroll and HR data against the regulations) plus a suite of communications (assisting the employer in fulfilling their duty to provide enrolment information to employees) and a range of default investment solutions (to suit the requirements of different employers and member profiles).
The combination of online hub, employee communications support and default investment options will together provide a complete support package for employers as they reach their ‘staging date’ for ensuring they have met their responsibilities as required by the new reforms.
Friends Life has had interest in the full auto-enrolment solution from its existing corporate clients, with more than 50% of clients staging in the first half of this year opting to use the service. The first scheme has gone live, and the first corporate platform client is expected to go live in March.
The Friends Life Enrolment Hub will:
– Enable employers to enrol jobholders into a new or existing Friends Life pension scheme, or a combination of both;
– Decide which employees are eligible for scheme membership and contributions at each pay period, and those that are not while providing reasons for ineligibility;
– Produce analysis and management information for employers so they can fulfil their reporting to duties, including regulatory requirements.
Employer communications support includes:
– A suite of individually tailored communications issued at assessment and postponement stages directly to the employee by Friends Life on behalf of the employer;
– Communications specifically tailored to the five different categories of worker* and tied in with wider information about the company pension scheme.
Default investment options under auto-enrolment include:
– A range of three ‘My Future’ default solutions for the employer to chose from;
– Default solutions designed to complement different scheme profiles, with investment sophistication and cost considerations built in;
– Additional options to offer bespoke investment solutions to employers and trustees having taken independent investment advice.
Colin Williams, Managing Director, Corporate Benefits at Friends Life said: “Making auto-enrolment work isn’t just about the complexities of reviewing the employee base for eligibility and contribution levels at every pay date. On top of managing data, potentially from multiple payroll and HR systems, employers need to ensure they communicate with their employees and ensure each individual understands what enrolment means. Otherwise, contractual obligations may be met but the ultimate aim of auto-enrolment, to engage employees with long term saving, will be lost.
“Our solution is therefore about easing the burden for employers across all aspects of auto-enrolment. This means not just providing support in data sorting but providing tailored communications directly to employees on the employer’s behalf. We’ve also come up with three default investment options, recognising that different employers have different scheme requirements when it comes to investment sophistication and scheme budget, while still supporting those who prefer to use professional investment advice.
“2013 is set to be a big year for auto-enrolment as employers with between 500 and 50,000 employees go-live with the new reforms. It will also be a big year for many employees as they are enrolled into a work based pension scheme for the first time. It’s crucial that we keep them in mind through and beyond the staging process, to realise the potential in an era-defining change for workplace pensions.”
The five categories:
– Eligible jobholder
– Non-eligible jobholder
– Entitled worker
– Non-qualifying member (existing member of the scheme not paying in at the minimum level)
– Qualifying member (existing member of the scheme already paying in at the minimum level)