Auto enrolment: Offering a fixed price service

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Offering a fixed price auto enrolment review immediately is the best way forward, says Steve Pipe.

In my previous article I set out two simple client engagement clarification letters that every practice should use to guarantee that you either maximise the profits you earn from auto enrolment, and/or completely eliminate your liability for it.

This article will drill down a little deeper by answering two questions asked most often:

  1. What is the best auto enrolment service to offer?
  2. Why the rush?

The best auto enrolment service to offer

I suggest that in your client engagement clarification letters you offer a...

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About Steve Pipe

Steve pipe

Steve is an FCA who is passionate about the profession. Often described as one of the world's leading strategists for the accounting profession, he has had helped hundreds of UK practices.


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By mjshort
11th Apr 2014 16:23

How about contextual pricing?

We've got rid of timesheets then 'value pricing' and we are not going back to price lists or fixed prices.

Why charge all clients the same, we have moved kicking and screaming into 2010's with contextual pricing. We try and charge individual  clients individual prices.

Thanks (1)
13th Apr 2014 10:38

That is an option too if you have time
I suggested a fixed price because I think it fits best with the process (see previous article) of sending every single client a Client Engagement Clarification.

You could put a different (ie contextual) fixed (ie because it doesn’t vary regardless of the actual hours the job takes) price in in each of those CECs, but I suspect for many firms that would be too much hard work and would actually result in it never actually being done).

So for many firms, I suspect, setting a single high fixed may be the best way forward.

It should be a very profitable approach (because the price is set high and the work involved in every review is very similar). And it should also be very practical, because every client can be contacted without delay in this way with little or no effort.

But of course, if you have the time for contexctual/value pricing by all means use that instead.

Thanks (0)
14th Apr 2014 11:07

If we had the time....

Agree with both comments here, in an ideal world we would be offering our clients individual pricing and we are still continuing to do this. But as the ‘crunch’ is fast approaching then offering a range of services at fixed prices seems to work for everyone.

We are hearing that our clients and the clients of the accountants/bookkeepers we are engaging with, are simply relieved that we are able to assist them with their AE requirements in a compliant and timely fashion. Doesn’t mean we should take advantage of the situation we are in right now, but those firms that get their AE ‘model’ in good shape with the right support network behind it will benefit in many ways. Client retention and new client opportunities are the obvious plusses and an income stream for a good few years being another.

If anyone wants to look at how we’re supporting businesses, please shout.    

Thanks (0)
By 0098087
14th Apr 2014 16:05

The whole thing is a nightmare. Seems that most of the clients we deal with, under 20 employees won't be able to get a scheme and will be stuck with Nest which seems to be useless anyway. Another half arsed idea from a government that is supposed to help small businesses but has done no such thing. Evidence SSP.

Thanks (1)
14th Apr 2014 17:02


There are still providers out there who will entertain schemes with less than 20 lives, but granted they are getting a little thin on the ground.

Still important for the adviser and the employer to prove why they’ve ended up with a certain provider, tread carefully would be our guidance.

Worth looking at other supertrust providers of course. We have some capacity from the market if anyone would like to discuss.



Thanks (0)
15th Apr 2014 21:44

Fluster buster - time for the Master Trust

There are only 2 scale pension scheme providers who to date have demonstrated they work with ALL employers, irrespective of size, salaries, turnover etc.

Neither levy any explicit employer charges, both are not for profit models - however, they are very different solutions!  

Nest has been well thought out and strategized, but does have a variety of restrictions placed on it, by both government, and as a result of lobbying by traditional insurers via ABI to protect their "cherry picked" profitable business, and a necessity to keep share holders happy.

NOW: Pensions are of significant scale, and backed by ATP of Denmark, who have more experience of SME's and low cost contribution models than any UK pension provider.

Already working with a significant number of accountancy practices and payroll bureaux, and acknowledge Steve Pipes model as well thought out and positioned.

There are several ways to slice the cake. We have designed and worked with a variety.

We have also evidenced accountancy practices who haven't engaged in supporting their clients with AE, lose all elements of the client services -

Will your practice be a winner or loser?

Additionally NOW: have invested significantly to deliver a dedicated solution for bureaux to make processing slicker,..

To discuss processes and considerations contact me on 07825 587858 or Jason Li : 0203 053 1878


Thanks (2)
15th Apr 2014 11:23

I like the blatant advert Niall!!!!!!!!

Niall Ferguson wrote:

Will your practice be a winner or loser?

Additionally NOW: have invested significantly to deliver a dedicated solution for bureaux to make processing slicker....

To discuss models and considerations further contact me on 07825 587858 or Jason Li : 0203 053 1878 - quote Accounting Web 

Thanks (1)
15th Apr 2014 11:44

Subtlety has been discarded

In no way would I wish to be perceived as crossing the fine line between providing insight to how accountants may consider their approach in supporting clients Vs a blatant commercial plug.

Given your comment Nigel, I appear to have done so on this occasion, but solely with an impassioned belief that we can help those practices who are deliberating with the perceived conflicts the legislation delivers.

Corporate pensions are not regulated when being discussed in a B2B environment, and many practices and trade bodies are not aligned to this.

Simplicity for all stakeholders (Stakeholder Pensions may soon be a redundant term due to charge cap 0.75%) is key, and this simplicity can be hugely aided by a guided solution being defined by their preferred business advisers.

Thanks (0)
06th May 2014 14:23

FSB scheme

The Federation of Small Businesses runs a scheme which is open to ALL sizes of business, for a small 1-4 payroll their 1 off cost is £399+VAT. You can also join the FSB via their auto-enrolment scheme too.

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19th May 2014 09:51

A pension geek comments!


Sound stuff, almost all the problem cases with the Regulator result from "leaving it too late" , "burying your head in the sand" or "leaving it to the advisers". We hear this stuff all the time.

Auto-enrolment is no fun for companies but with only 9% opt-outs and the prospect of something better than an annuity from next year, it's not just the Regulator who will be unimpressed by breaches! It doesn't look too good with staff either.

It's not all plain sailing for accountants -it's a PI claim in the making if you don't know what you're doing but as Stephen Elms points out , there are  number of "compliance in a box" solutions on the market today and practitioners should invest time in working out which works best for them.

Pension Geeks know very well that there is no way auto-enrolment is going to work beyond 2015 without the support of people on this site - so we're dependent on your goodwill!

Thanks for spreading the word!



Thanks (0)
By vowlesj
26th May 2014 16:58

Auto offering
I certainly like the idea of one single process to contact clients and in answer to anyone out there who, like me, has doubts about being able to find an IFA who can actually find a pension company to take on smaller clients...I have a solution. Provided by Blackrock, so one of the best investment houses in the uk and happy to share if any one is interested - just email me.

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