AE and payroll comparison site launchedby
Auto enrolment (AE) data integration platform pensionsync has launched a free pension and payroll provider comparison website to help address the advice gap in the market.
The new tool has been developed by Will Lovegrove and Chris Deeson at pensionsync to help small businesses select a workplace pension as they near their AE staging dates. The website also allows employers to compare payroll software, which is critical in administering workplace pensions.
Lovegrove said that business owners and decision-makers are frequently turning to accountants for advice on workplace pensions and this tool will be a vital source of information and guidance, freeing-up accountants to “get on with their day jobs”.
The comparison site brings together public domain information from major pension providers with considered opinion from experts, third parties, and TripAdvisor-style user ratings. It delivers information in a straightforward, easy-to-understand format and is free of charge.
The launch comes at a time when The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has revealed a rise in penalties for small and micro-businesses for non-compliance in setting up AE schemes.
At the same time Will Lovegrove, chief executive at pensionsync, said it was a very special time for payroll providers and that the tool will shine a light on this area: “Our payroll software comparison tables will be interesting to the 200,000 employers currently using the free HMRC Basic PAYE Tool who have been left high and dry because it has not been expanded to include automatic enrolment functionality such as workforce assessment,” he said.
Lovegrove added that there is a healthy workplace pension provider market competing for business from the one million small employers yet to stage: “There was a time when many in the industry believed there would be a ‘capacity crunch’ of pension provision to SMEs. In fact, the opposite is now true. There is good capacity and good choice in the market.
“However, employers have very few sources of trusted and free information to turn to when picking a workplace pension provider, and this information isn’t in one place or easily understood. In their haste to avoid being fined by the regulator, we believe many SME employers are not reviewing the market in any depth before making a choice,” he added.
Lovegrove told AccountingWEB that the website stops short of offering formal financial advice and is not whole of market, but that the tool will help make employers more aware that they have a choice and the implications of that choice.
The site is not aiming to provide a comprehensive market survey, but instead has selected a sub-section of pension providers in the market according to the following principles:
- The pension provider must be listed on TPR’s website and have achieved 'master trust assurance', or they must be a leading life insurance company which is regulated by the FCA
- The pension provider must be open to accepting applications from small employers (either directly or via an intermediary)
- The pension provider must be connected to the pensionsync data integration platform, or have been identified by a pensionsync customer as being a pension provider they would like to have connected to the pensionsync platform
The tool also does not rate the investment strategy of the provider’s default fund, but does highlight to the employer that the providers have independent governance committees or trustees in place to review investment strategy and part of their responsibilities includes publishing annual reports on value for money for their members.
How have you approached the issue of 'advice' when it comes to your clients staging for AE? Or if you work in Business, what process did you go through to select your company pension provider?