A flexible, versatile technology platform that can handle all an employer’s pension arrangements in one place is a valuable tool for auto-enrolment
- Scottish Widows’ AssistMe enables employers to manage their workforce’s pensions through a single interface, which can be integrated with their own systems.
- Professional advisers can access AssistMe to help manage employers’ compliance requirements.
- There is no extra cost for AssistMe; it is part of Scottish Widows’ pension administration services.
Scottish Widows launched its auto enrolment proposition, AssistMe, in September 2012 to provide a simple and intuitive platform with which employers can manage their strategies for implementing auto-enrolment.
By understanding the individual needs of a business, Scottish Widows uses the flexibility of AssistMe to create a tailored solution for each employer. All administration, compliance and reporting associated with auto-enrolment is taken care of in one place.
AssistMe enables employers to manage their workforce’s pension arrangements through a single interface, which can be integrated with their own systems.
The platform enables employers to control access rights to different people within an organisation. For example, an employer’s HR director can have different access rights from those of HR administrators and pension scheme providers.
Professional advisers can also access AssistMe to help ease the pressure of compliance, administration and reporting for employers.
By using this technology to streamline existing processes and drive greater efficiencies across pension administration, Scottish Widows has been able to deliver AssistMe on a cost-neutral basis, which means employers have access to the technology at no additional cost to themselves.
Some of the key features and benefits of AssistMe include the flexibility to allow for multiple-user access and administration rights, the ability to facilitate scheme segmentation if employers choose to use alternative providers for some sections of their workforce, and to manage other auto-enrolment scheme providers, such as The People’s Pension and Nest (the national employment savings trust).
The system can also interface with existing systems to ensure payroll data remains current and correct at all times, and be configured to the particular needs of a business, enabling alerts and communication preferences to be set up.
Finally, the system has the ability to generate all mandatory communications, as well as capturing management information and reporting for audit purposes.
Scottish Widows is working with a number of employers that are currently auto-enrolling their workforces. This experience of working with early stagers allows it to offer suggestions to employers to make their experience, when it comes, as smooth a transition as possible.
Firstly, it is important for employers to understand the needs of their business and of their workforce. Only then can they understand which technology solution is right for them.
Employers should also engage professional advice and foster a close relationship with their liaison manager at The Pensions Regulator for education and guidance.
Employers are also recommended to: conduct a data-cleansing exercise with their existing scheme providers; consider a series of communications to employees in advance of their staging date; ensure pension or payroll departments develop expertise in the new rules; and consider their strategy for existing pension arrangements in the light of auto-enrolment’s arrival.
Lynn Graves is head of new business development, corporate pensions at Scottish Widows
This whitepaper has been written by Scottish Widows