Pensions seminar success

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“Plan early and seek advice” was the message to businesses at a pension seminar at Kingsley Village.

Around 100 business people from across Cornwall attended the event, which focused on the changes affecting pensions as a result of the Government’s auto-enrolment scheme.

It was organised by independent financial advisers Worldwide Financial Planning, alongside Stephens Scown solicitors, Lang Bennetts chartered accounts and Santander bank.

The team behind the auto-enrolment seminar attended by 100 businesses: (l-r) Jonathan Mashen (Lang Bennetts), Ian Digby (Pensions Regulator), Verity Slater (Stephens Scown), Andrew Stallard (Worldwide Financial Planning) and David Rogers (Santander)
The team behind the auto-enrolment seminar: (l-r) Jonathan Mashen (Lang Bennetts), Ian Digby (Pensions Regulator), Verity Slater (Stephens Scown), Andrew Stallard (Worldwide Financial Planning) and David Rogers (Santander)

The seminar also featured a presentation from Ian Digby, industry liaison manager at the Pensions Regulator.

Worldwide IFA, Andrew Stallard, said: “The message is very simple for businesses and that is plan early and seek advice.

“Auto-enrolment is a good idea, as it helps people to set up a pension, but it is a tax on business.

“It’s also a burden and creates three costs for businesses – the cost of advice, the cost of paying contributions, and the administrative burden of applying auto-enrolment.”

Since auto-enrolment was launched around 40,000 businesses have gone through the staging process.

Jonathan Mashen, a partner at Lang Bennetts, said: “By 2016 and 2017, there will be around 200,000 businesses per quarter going through the process, so there will be a lot of pressure on the system.

“That is why planning at least nine months in advance is essential.”

Verity Slater, a partner at Stephens Scown in Truro, added: “Be prepared. It takes time to go through the process, so it’s a good idea to get a team together to help make decisions.

“Businesses also need to think about changing employment contracts, as old clauses relating to pensions will need to be changed.”

According to the Pensions Regulator anyone aged between 16 and 74 and earning £10k per year pro rata will be included in the scheme.

Businesses not complying will face a fixed penalty of £400, while small businesses face escalating penalties of £50 per day. Larger businesses can face escalating fines of up to £10k per day.