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40% of employers risk auto enrolment breach

40% of employers risk auto enrolment breach Issued: 3 August 2016   Although most employers are fulfilling their auto enrolment duties on time, smaller firms seem to be dragging their heels; as auto enrolment rolls out to ‘small and micro’ employers it appears many are leaving it to the last minute before they do something. In fact, in the second quarter of 2016, “40% of employers completed their pension scheme applications either very close to their staging date or after their deadline had already passed – the highest percentage over the recorded quarters.” reports Now:Pensions’ CEO Morten Nilsson in Corporate Adviser (read Corporate Adviser’s summary here). Auto enrolment was introduced on 1 October 2012 by the Pensions Act 2008, it being rolled out to every employer in a programme that’s due to finish in 2018. The programme’s timetable is on a largest-to-smallest basis and is currently in the ‘fewer than […]

Over-45s see their home as part of their pension plan

Over-45s see their home as part of their pension plan Issued: 4 August 2016   Homeowners aged between 45 and 54 are almost as likely to see their home as part of their retirement plans as seeing it as a component in their inheritance plans, comments Corporate Adviser about Aviva’s latest ‘Real Retirement Report’. (To read Corporate Adviser’s comment, please click here.) Long-term growth in UK house prices has led nearly two-thirds of homeowners to see the wealth built up in their property as being a key part of their retirement plans, with 60% seeing their home as something they will pass on to their children. The report shows that for nearly 70% of homeowners aged over 45, the value of their home is worth more than the combined value of their pensions, savings and investments combined. The average house price for the over-45s is around £265,000, 27% more than […]

Pensions Regulator warns of auto enrolment challenge ahead

Pensions Regulator warns of auto enrolment challenge ahead Issued: 9 August 2016   The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) fourth annual report on auto enrolment contained an optimistic message about progress to date along with a forewarning about the next two years: compliance rates were summarized as being “at the top of expectations” but that “there are significant challenges ahead”. (Read the article in Corporate Adviser.) Compliance rates amongst the first groups of small and micro employers were above 95% which was better than expected. But, despite this, the report noted that between April 2015 and March 2016, TPR had used its ‘formal powers’ on 8,812 occasions, 6,643 more times than the previous year with more than 2,000 employers being issued with a fixed penalty notice and 122 receiving escalating penalty notices. This dramatic leap of over 75% in compliance penalties being attributable to the auto enrolment programme reaching the massive small […]

Relevant Life Cover – is it relevant to you?

Relevant Life Cover – is it relevant to you? Issued: 11 August 2016   What, you may ask, is relevant life cover? That’s a very good question because few people have heard of it – but if you’re a director paying for your life cover personally, or a high-earning employee, then we suggest you take a few minutes to read about it as you’re exactly the type of person who could reap the benefits the plan can offer. Relevant life cover is a ‘personalized’ form of a death-in-service life insurance plan; a policy paid for by an employer that provides a lump-sum payout in the event that an employee either dies or is diagnosed with a terminal illness while in their service. Relevant life cover goes one step further: the policy is taken out against a named employee rather than a group of employees. Until recently it was only possible […]

How to get a mortgage if you’re a small business or self-employed

How to get a mortgage if you’re a small business or self-employed Issued: 12 August 2016   The Daily Mail wrote a useful article back in April 2013 giving advice on how to get a mortgage if you were one of the growing number of people who had a small business or were self-employed. It’s been updated and reprinted since then and is a ‘must read’ for anyone who has a ‘micro-business’ and is thinking of stepping onto the first rung of the property ladder. (Read The Daily Mail article here.) Although it’s not impossible for ‘small business people’ to get a mortgage, it can be frustratingly difficult at times as many lenders see those with what they consider to be ‘non-standard incomes’ as an unacceptable risk. Understandably, if they’re lending you money they want to make sure you’re going to be able to repay it, so proving your business […]

Workplace pension providers to help micro-businesses with auto enrolment

Workplace pension providers to help micro-businesses with auto enrolment Issued: 16 August 2016   UK micro businesses – defined as those employing between one and four people – are facing fines that could total £22million, warns a new report (read William Turvill’s comment in City A.M.). The Pensions Regulator estimates that around 262,000 micro-businesses are due to ‘stage’ over the next 18 months – but believe over a fifth still have little understanding of their legal duties, leading to a call for workplace pension providers to step in and help The Pensions Regulator get the message over. “The Pensions’ Regulator has done a huge amount to raise awareness of auto-enrolment responsibilities amongst the UK’s smallest businesses – yet, despite this, a sizeable number are still in the dark as to what to actually do as their staging date approaches. These businesses need to sit up and take note or risk […]

Watch out for pension deadlines

Watch out for pension deadlines Issued: 17 August 2016   ’70 is the new 50!’ As life expectancy steadily increases most of us want our ‘later years’ to be active, a time when we can catch up on all those things we’ve always wanted to do. Yes, we may have the time – but will we have the money? Everything hinges on our pensions – and having a ‘secure and comfortable retirement’ needs careful planning. One aspect of pension planning is being aware of the various ‘pension age deadlines’ which, as older people have gained greater control over when they retire and how they run their finances in old age, are now more fluid. But, as Tanya Jefferies explains in her article for This is Money, the ages of 55, 65 and 75 are still important milestones (Read Tanya’s article here.) Age 55 is something of a ‘false start line’ […]

First-time buyers punished by ‘sneaky’ mortgage rate rise

First-time buyers punished by ‘sneaky’ mortgage rate rise Issued: 23 August 2016   Britain’s biggest lenders are punishing first-time buyers by quietly increasing the cost of their mortgages, writes Kate Morley, Consumer Affairs Editor, in The Telegraph (to read Kate’s article, please click on the link: ). The move defies the Bank of England’s Governor, Mark Carney, who said they have “no excuse” not to pass on recent interest rate cuts. The Bank of England cut its base rate from 0.5% to 0.25% at the beginning of August, the cut, the first since 2009, taking the rate to an all-time low. Announcing a package of measures to stimulate the economy, Mr Carney insisted that the effect of cutting the rate would be felt “immediately” within the economy adding that banks have “no excuse” not to pass on the lower borrowing costs to customers and would be charged a penalty if […]

A quarter may opt out of auto enrolment at 8% contribution

A quarter may opt out of auto enrolment at 8% contribution Issued: 24 August 2016   Nearly a quarter of workers may choose to opt out of their auto enrolment pension scheme when minimum contributions reach 8% in 2019, according to a survey for Now: Pensions reports Corporate Adviser (to read the briefing, please click on the link:). The Pensions Act 2008 specifies only the minimum total and minimum employer’s contribution levels, the employee paying the difference between the two. Until 5 April 2018 the minimum total contribution is just 2%, the employer has to pay 1% leaving the employee to match that. But the balance starts to shift on 6 April 2018 when the minimum total contribution rises to 5% of which the employer has only to pay 2% – and, a year later, on 6 April 2019, the minimum total rises to 8%, of which the employer pays […]

Some taking ‘too much’ from their pension pots

Some taking ‘too much’ from their pension pots Issued: 24 August 2016   “Although most people are taking a sensible approach, a minority are withdrawing too much, too soon.” said Yvonne Braun, the Association of British Insurer’s director of policy, reports Brian Milligan on the BBC Business website (to read the article, please click on the link: ). After the first full year of the pension freedoms introduced in April 2015, the ABI said that most people were ‘being sensible’, with more than half of those withdrawing money taking out 1% or less of their pension pot’s value. However, the data also suggested that a minority of savers were withdrawing ‘too much, too soon’, with 4% of pension pots having a tenth of their value withdrawn and some being emptied in one go – “Warning signs that require further investigation.” said Ms Braun. Pension reforms introduced in April 2015 allow […]