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13 December 2016


With over 1 million small businesses yet to reach their Auto-Enrolment (AE) staging date, it’s essential to plan early. Leaving it too late will create unnecessary time pressures, will increase the costs and could lead to a fine! Unfortunately, 1 in 5 businesses now miss their staging date completely. As a result, over 26,000 Compliance Notices have already been issued by the Pensions Regulator.

2. Auto-Enrolment has very little to do with Pensions!

AE is designed to remove barriers to joining pension schemes and taking away the need for employees to actively join. However, it is only partially about pensions. It is mainly about data, administration and process.

3. It is definitely more complex than you think!

AE is extremely detailed and complex for the inexperienced. But the regulations are clear in that it is the employer’s responsibility to manage and implement their duties. It’s estimated that it will take each employer around 250 hours to understand, digest and implement these new legal duties. This is going to be difficult, especially for employers that do not have an in-house pensions or HR specialist. There are circa 33 new mandatory pension duties. Research shows many employers will struggle with the most fundamental tasks, such as establishing the date AE applies to them.

4. Burying your head in the sand!

Doing nothing is not an option, Auto-Enrolment is here and it is here to stay. A recent Pensions Regulator survey established that 74% of small/micro employers will turn to their professional adviser for help. In fact, many of our existing partners have told us their clients are just expecting them to deal with AE. But they are also holding them responsible for any penalties they receive from the Pensions Regulator.

5. Choosing support based on price alone!

The larger employee benefit consultancies and many IFAs are not interested in the micro AE market. However, there are lots of advisers that profess knowledge, systems and processes to help, sometimes for little or no cost. There is no such thing as a “free” AE solution, especially if you want an all-inclusive solution.

6. NEST is NOT the answer!

The NEST scheme is only a pension provider, not an all-inclusive end to end Auto-Enrolment solution. This will ultimately mean that you undertake more work than you would otherwise need to. NEST was set up by the government to make sure that every employer would have access to a qualifying workplace pension scheme (QWPS) to comply with the Auto-Enrolment legislation and was supposed to be the last resort for small/micro employers who couldn’t find an alternative pension provider.

7. Taking on more than you can chew!

There is never a good time to implement an Auto-Enrolment solution of your own, it is unlikely to be part of your core business and you are no doubt already extremely busy. However, you are probably fully aware of the risks of not helping your clients. If they fail to comply with their responsibilities, they will be fined. We have found that those professional advisers and ‘affinity’ groups that are on the front foot and proactive when it comes to Auto-Enrolment and supporting their clients, have reaped the rewards for doing so.

How can Corinthian Affinity help?

Corinthian Affinity improve people’s lives by making the complicated simple. As we appreciate that pensions isn’t necessarily part of your core business, we’ll offer as much support as you need to solve all of yours and your clients’ Auto-Enrolment problems.

You will benefit from one simple all-inclusive end to end solution to Auto-Enrolment which will ensure you can take advantage of the opportunities in as simple and cost effective manner as possible. This includes:

  • Face to face training at the outset
  • A dedicated helpdesk for ongoing support
  • Streamlined bulk scheme registration and set up in less than a minute
  • Payroll data integration support
  • One simple process for all your Auto-Enrolment administration
  • Automated Direct Debit facility for payment of contributions
  • Declaration of Compliance support
  • 5 star Defaqto rated and Master Trust Assurance Framework accredited (AAF 02/07) Qualifying Workplace Pension Scheme

You will make more money, save time and have less stress, whilst knowing you have added value to your clients and enabled them to focus on running their business.

Jackie Wilding, Partner at Bryden Johnson Chartered Accountants & Business Advisers says:

“Being an Affinity partner has enabled me to give the right advice for our clients, not just ensure they have ticked a compliance box. I have complete confidence that I can recommend a broad range of options and help the client find the right solution to give them best value for their staff’s futures.”

“The online portal is fantastic, intuitive and easy-to-use which aligns to our payroll service and enables us to provide a seamless service to our clients and just takes away all the pain and stress of dealing with Auto-Enrolment. As a result, it improves our profit margin and keeps our clients’ confident in our ability to deliver the best, most cost-effective advice.”

To find out more visit or speak with our Affinity Helpline on 0800 484 0021.