A third of SMEs ready for auto-enrolment

One in three (38%) small and medium-sized (SME) respondents are ready for auto-enrolment ahead of their staging dates, according to research by Jelf Employee Benefits.

Its Auto-enrolment tracker research showed a slight improvement from May 2012, when 31% of respondents were aware of their staging date and had started to prepare.

Steve Herbert, head of benefits strategy at Jelf Employee Benefits, said: “It is simply not enough to just be aware of the start date now, because there are a lot of processes and financial planning that need to be implemented to be ready for auto-enrolment.

“We are also particularly concerned about the impact that the imminent retail distribution review (RDR) will have on auto-enrolment planning for SMEs.”

At Jelf Employee Benefits’ seminar, held on 23 November, 21% of SME respondents had heard of RDR, which comes into effect on 31 December 2012. This was despite 42% of respondents saying they currently remunerate their pension consultants or advisers by commission or a joint fee/commission structure.

Herbert added: “Smaller employers are showing very little awareness of the ancillary costs of auto-enrolment.

“With RDR changes, they are now going to have to pay upfront fees for adviser costs, as well as potentially increase HR headcount and administrative resources to manage the auto-enrolment project that is coming.”