Do I need to use the NEST for Auto-Enrolment?

No. As an employer you have various options open to you such as; using the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), converting your existing scheme to meet the required quality standards, putting in place a new scheme offered by a pension provider, or using a combination of all three.

You can choose the scheme and structure that you think is the most appropriate to meet the needs of your workforce. This could either be NEST, one or more alternative good quality pension schemes or a combination. You may already have a pension scheme in place which meets the requirements to be an acceptable alternative to NEST, or which can be amended in order to meet the requirements (e.g. by increasing contributions or amending membership eligibility criteria).

Do not assume that you can automatically make these changes and you should always approach your existing pension provider in the first instance. Each business and their respective workforce are unique and so the most suitable course of action differs. We recommend that you consult an independent financial adviser to advise you on suitable solutions based on factors such as cost, workforce mentality such as value placed on employee benefits, time left to staging date.

The pension market is evolving daily with a demand for pension scheme provision far outweighing supply. As such, some pension scheme providers will not offer terms if you start pension contributions at the minimum level under phasing, or you start implementing your AE planning project at the last minute.

What happens if I cannot get terms from our existing pension provider?

NEST was established by Government legislation to allow any employer to enrol their workers into a qualifying pension scheme.

It is intended to be a low cost & simple pension scheme aimed at low to moderate workers. Some view NEST as a pension provider of last resort due to limitations over other types of schemes, and that it is there to accept your contributions, and not to help you with employer duties.

Alternatively, there are quality low cost pension scheme providers that will offer terms and provide assessment tools, and employee communications packages in the market.

Alternatively, there are quality low cost pension scheme providers that will offer terms and provide assessment tools, and employee communications packages in the market. The terms, packages, investment philosophy, financial strength, and ability to deliver all vary from provider to provider, and so we would strongly recommend you seeking independent financial advice before proceeding.

More on auto enrolment & workplace pensions…

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