The Pensions Regulator flexes its muscles

Money Matters with 'Scott Woods.
Money Matters with 'Scott Woods.

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is contacting 1.5 million businesses and sending out its regular wake-up letters to try and avert mass non-compliance among small employers unprepared for auto-enrolment.

Employers already receive a letter 12 months ahead of their staging date to help them plan for auto-enrolment regulations and avoid penalties for failing to meet their obligations. 
But TPR says it is contacting all small and micro-businesses, regardless of when they need to comply, because of research that shows “significant numbers” do not know when their staging dates are. 
Executive director of auto-enrolment Charles Counsell said: “Automatic enrolment affects every employer in the UK and they need to take timely action to get ready. 
“The rollout of automatic enrolment has so far been a success and this letter will ensure that by the summer, all small and micro-buisinesses are clear about when their duties begin, enabling them to plan ahead. 
“From the end of January, letters will be sent out on a gradual basis over a number of months so employers should not worry if they don’t receive theirs straight away. 
“In the meantime, all employers can look up their staging date on our website www.the pensionsregulator.gov.uk” 
The pensions industry is bracing itself for a growing number of unprepared employers after it emerged, last October, that the regulator issued its first three £400 fines to firms who failed to act on compliance notices. 
However, the move towards compulsory workplace pensions presents a great opportunity for employees to engage in planning like never before and, coupled with the recent positive changes to pension rules, it will help people move towards to the retirement they desire.

Staff at Bingham-Woods Independent Financial Advisors, Spalding.  Photo by Tim Wilson.

Staff at Bingham-Woods Independent Financial Advisors, Spalding. Photo by Tim Wilson.

But it does also present employers with time-based challenges to avoid the potential headaches of business disruption and possible financial penalties if deadlines are missed.