Paul Wilson 33

Barclays Corporate and Employer Solutions (C&ES) has launched a new auto enrolment solution to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as they set up pension schemes for their employees.

The announcement coincides with the latest deadline for SME auto enrolment, as companies with 160-249 employees are required to be compliant by 1 April.

Available now, the solution includes a range of online and offline services to ease the auto enrolment journey for employers. The services are available in a modular format, allowing SMEs to make selections based on their individual needs and budget.

The key features of the solution include:

  • A ‘Fast Start’ workshop involving key decision-makers from within an organisation; mapping the options available to them, developing a bespoke strategy and personalised action plan for the company to deliver an auto enrolment scheme tailored to their requirements. A project management service is also available to support in delivery of the Fast Start project plan.
  • An assessment service to determine whether an organisation’s existing pension schemes are fit for purpose under the new auto enrolment laws, both for existing members and new eligible employees.
  • An auto enrolment research service to benchmark low cost pension providers who could support an auto enrolment solution for an organisation, with key findings and detailed analysis outlined in a bespoke report.
  • A comprehensive data-modelling tool that assesses employees to determine their auto enrolment category; providing an accurate indication of costing/administration implications for the organisation.
  • A recommendation of an appropriate provider and default investment strategy for a qualifying workplace pension scheme.

Alongside the launch of the auto enrolment SME solution, Barclays C&ES has appointed a dedicated SME consulting team to deliver the services and help employers navigate the auto enrolment process.

The newly created team is made up of advisors with extensive Employee Benefits and pensions experience, who can share the experience learned with guiding larger organisations through the process and apply it to SMEs. It includes a Birmingham-based telephone advisory team, as well as a network of consultants located throughout the UK to deliver face-to-face auto enrolment counsel for clients.

In operation for just over a month, the team has already secured over 20 new clients and has more than 200 other new leads. The team is continuing to strengthen its offering with further recruitment planned.

BCD Travel, a travel management company with around 600 employees, recently made use of the SME auto enrolment solution provided by Barclays; receiving support to develop an auto enrolment journey map, and to design and implement a new auto enrolment scheme tailored to the needs of its employees.

Paul Wilson, Head of Employee Benefit Consulting at Barclays Corporate & Employer Solutions, said: “Auto enrolment processes can appear complex and daunting, so careful and detailed planning is essential. At Barclays, we understand the complexities, coupled with the need to manage costs and minimise disruption.

“This bespoke solution will bring the best of Barclays and the best of the market to SMEs through objective, tailored advice. It is this approach which we believe will make the solution, which has already proved extremely popular with clients, a success going forward.”

Alison Crabtree, Human Resources Manager UK and Ireland for BCD Travel, said: “The advice and guidance that the team at Barclays provided in getting us through the auto enrolment process was invaluable and I can’t thank them enough. I felt supported from the very first meeting, right through until our staging date and then beyond. They made sure we understood exactly what we needed to do, provided the advice to help us make some key decisions and kept us on track so we were ready for our staging date.”

The final SME auto enrolment staging deadline is 1 June 2015 for SMEs with 30 employees or less. Given that schemes take between 12 and 18 months to implement, employers will need to act quickly to ensure they are compliant within the stipulated timeframe.