Compulsory Workplace Pensions
The biggest change to pensions for a generation started in 2012.
All employers, from their respective staging date, (speak to us to identify your staging date) are required to automatically enrol individuals between age 22 and State Pension Age into a qualifying workplace pension scheme (auto-enrolment), and to pay contributions for anyone earning over the trigger point for paying Income Tax. The employer will have to pay some of the contribution, and could pay all of it.
Apart from the cost of paying the contributions, the biggest challenge employers face is record keeping. The rules, which are being strictly enforced, are complex and there are fines of up to £50,000 for failure to follow them. The Pensions Regulator is warning employers that they are required to:
- Assess their workforce
- Identify who to automatically enrol
- Choose a pension scheme
- Register with the regulator
- Pay the correct pension contributions
- Process any opt-out notices
- Process opt-in or joining requests
- Avoid inducements and prohibited activity
- Keep accurate records
- Provide workers with information about the changes
All employers, whether they have existing pension arrangements or not, need to consider very carefully how they are complying with the new regulations.
We are part of a national group which has developed a cost effective solution to assist employers do exactly that.
We offer an audit of your current pension arrangements, and will provide you with a comprehensive written report enabling you to plan for this huge change in employer responsibilities.
Corporate Wealth Management and Business Protection
We have extensive experience of advising business owners and are fully aware of the planning issues that they need to consider. In particular, we help clients to address key risks to the ongoing success of their businesses and to plan for all stages of their business life cycle including, expansion, mergers and acquisitions and succession.
We can help by:
- Considering Business Protection by planning for the impact on the business of the death (or prolonged incapacity) of a Partner, Director or key person within the business and advising on partnership, shareholder and cross-option agreements.
- Recommending the most tax efficient method of enhancing Partners’ and Directors’ remuneration and profit extraction.
- Providing Partners or Directors with arrangements to make available regular income (to replace drawings or salary), in the event of prolonged absence from work, due to illness or incapacity.
- Assisting with retirement planning, including the use of SIPPs (Self Invested Personal Pension Plans) and SSASs (Small Self Administered Schemes).
- Considering the benefits of utilising the business owner’s pension arrangements to purchase commercial property.
- Assisting with the efficient planning exit strategies.
At Austyn James we understand that attracting and retaining good employees is fundamental to long term success.
We help employers to consider the potential benefits of offering employees access to a wider range of benefits and/or greater choice. We have significant experience of ‘flexible remuneration packages’ and can advise on the tax treatment of additional benefits, both from an employer and employee perspective.
We can help by:
- Providing or reviewing existing risk-based arrangements, such as Group Life, Group Critical Illness and Group Income Protection plans to ensure these are competitive.
- Providing advice on the full range and structure of defined benefits and money purchase occupational pension schemes, with the aim of reducing administrative complexity and costs.
- Reviewing or providing Group Personal Pension schemes (GPPs), Stakeholder schemes, Self Invested Personal Pension Plans (SIPP) and Small Self Administered Schemes (SSAS).
- Giving clear guidance to employers on the tax treatment of pension contributions, the impact of forthcoming pension legislation and terms of pension provision for staff.
- Reviewing existing schemes to ensure their continuing suitability and competitiveness, in terms of both costs and benefits.
We are able to provide pensions consultancy services to all employers with an occupational pension scheme, whether it is defined benefit or money purchase.
Our strength is our ability to explain complicated issues in a clear and easy to understand way.
We can help by:
- Providing advice on how to ensure your scheme complies with appropriate legislation.
- Selection of other professionals, including investment manager, scheme actuary, administrators, auditor, legal advisers and professional trustees.
- Ensuring that the trustees meetings are compliant, including preparation of pension scheme secretarial services if required.
- Providing investment advice, in particular matching investment strategy to scheme liabilities.
Reducing and Eliminating Final Salary Pensions Costs and Liabilities
A particular specialism within the Perspective Group is the ability to help companies and trustees, who operate final salary pension schemes, develop strategies to control costs.
We can help you by:
- Planning, project management and execution of liability reduction programmes. We aim to keep the up-front costs to your company to a minimum and link our remuneration to the overall success of the programme, and agree the parameters in advance of the commencement of the programme, thus providing you with the comfort that your company will not be saddled with considerable costs in the unlikely scenario that the exercise is not a success.
- Providing advice to scheme members who may be considering their options in relation to any offer made by the employer, such as an incentive to transfer out. We adopt an approach whereby the member, rather than the employer, is in control of how we are remunerated for our advice. This approach ensures our advice is free of any influence of the employer, by maintaining distance between the employer and the advice given.
- Reviewing your service providers and associated costs in the areas of Administration, Actuarial, Consultancy and Investment Management