NOW: Pensions announces enhanced service and confirms monthly employer service charge

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For immediate release: 24 November 2015

  • New service features will include dedicated support team and named manager, live online chat and screen share and a series of regular support webinars
  • Employers supported by a payroll bureau receive a reduced rate of £20 + VAT per month, or just £12.50 + VAT if they employ up to four people
  • Standard monthly employer service charge of £36 + VAT

Following feedback from its consultation “Meeting the needs of smaller employers”, NOW: Pensions today outlined its enhanced service proposition and monthly employer service charge for firms staging from 1 January 2016.

Over the coming months, NOW: Pensions will be offering the following service to support small and micro businesses:

  • A dedicated team and named team manager for employers who call the client support team to help ensure that any issues are resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible
  • Live online chat with NOW: Pensions’ support staff so that employers and payroll bureaux can receive real-time support when administering their pension schemes
  • Screen share which gives NOW: Pensions remote access to provide “hands on” help to employers and payroll bureaux
  • A series of regular live webinars to support small firms and their advisers with all aspects of scheme set up and ongoing administration
  • While demand for longer contact centre opening hours was more limited, NOW: Pensions will extend its opening hours to 8am to 6pm on weekdays
  • NOW: Pensions already handles all statutory communications for all categories of workers, not just eligible jobholders, but also entitled workers and non-eligible jobholders

Morten Nilsson, CEO of NOW: Pensions said: “Employers and their advisers have told us loud and clear what they want and we’ve listened. Auto enrolment is a cause of considerable anxiety for many smaller firms and the new services we’re introducing should provide much needed comfort.

“One message that came over both in the consultation and in our previous experience is the critical role that payroll bureaux play supporting their clients with auto enrolment. Employers that come to NOW: Pensions via a payroll bureau are significantly better prepared and require less support than those that come direct and we have reflected this in the employer service charge.”

Charges for NOW: Pensions’ tailored proposition are as follows:  

Payroll bureau discounted monthly employer service charge £20 (five or more employees)£12.50  (up to four employees)
Standard monthly employer service charge £36

All charges are + VAT

Employers supported by a payroll bureau therefore receive a 44% discount on the standard monthly employer service charge while micro clients of payroll bureaux receive a 65% discount on the standard charge.

Nilsson continues: “It’s important to remember that auto enrolment is an ongoing responsibility not a “one off” task and our charge reflects this reality. Regulation is constantly changing and there’s considerable work involved in ensuring ongoing compliance. On a day-to-day basis we support employers with the upload of their payroll files and scheme administration. As with any pension scheme, people are constantly opting-in, opting-out, leaving and joining. Every three years employers also have to undertake re-enrolment and throughout all this we are handling communications with employees and scheme members on behalf of employers.

“We believe that the monthly charge reflects the ongoing support required and the small firms we’ve spoken to say it’s much more manageable than a large up-front payment.”

Key findings from the consultation

  • 63% of small employers would not describe themselves as confident when it comes to handling the administration of their pension scheme
  • 72% of micro employers would not describe themselves as confident when it comes to handling the administration of their pension scheme
  • Nearly half (46%) of small employers have already started their auto enrolment planning. But, three quarters (75%) of micro firms have not given it any consideration
  • For both small and micro clients, the most important feature of an auto enrolment scheme is for the provider to offer statutory communications – this was deemed essential or important by 65% of small firms and 66% of micro firms
  • A named contact to help with any issues that arise was also highly desirable, cited as essential or important by 59% of small employers and 62% of micro employers
  • Enhanced online support was essential or important for nearly half (47%) of small firms and over a third (37%) of micro firms
  • Longer opening hours in the evening were deemed ‘not needed’ or only ‘nice to have’ by 66% of small employers and 72% of micro employers
  • Nearly two thirds (64%) of small employers and 58% of micro employers already pay for accountancy services.
  • Of the payroll bureaux NOW: Pensions surveyed, 87% said they thought the monthly employer service charge should be tiered according to the size of the company with micro firms paying proportionately less

In preparation for the growing demand and support these smaller employers will need, NOW: Pensions has increased its contact centre capacity significantly and earlier this month opened a second office in Nottingham with the creation of 250 new jobs over the next two years. Many of these new jobs will be in front line client support.

 

–     Ends     –

 For further information:

Amy Mankelow
NOW: Pensions
Tel: 0203 640 9075
amy.mankelow@nowpensions.com

Lauren Roberts / Louise Hetherington

Lansons
Tel: 0207 566 9760 / 020 7294 3678
laurenr@lansons.com / louiseh@lansons.com

Notes to editors:

* Research conducted by HPI between 25th September – 5th October 2015 with 202 small and micro firms. Small defined as 5-50, micro defined as 1-4.

A summary of the consultation findings can be found here

NOW: Pensions www.nowpensions.com @nowpensions

NOW: Pensions is an independent, multi-employer trust serving thousands of employers and hundreds of thousands of employees from a wide range of sectors.

A subsidiary of one of Europe’s largest pension funds, Danish pension scheme ATP, NOW: Pensions offers a simple and cost effective workplace pension solution direct to employers and via advisers and the payroll sector.

In April 2013, NOW: Pensions became the first master trust to attain the NAPF’s new PQM Ready Standard. The benchmark shows employers that NOW: Pensions is a well governed pension scheme with low charges and good member communications.

In January 2015, NOW: Pensions achieved independent assurance of scheme quality in accordance with the new master trust assurance framework (AAF02/07) introduced by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) in conjunction with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

The NOW: Pension Trustee Directors, whose role is to safeguard the interests of members, comprises well-known industry figures with different areas of expertise:

  • Jocelyn Blackwell, founding partner Dunnett Shaw
  • Christopher Daykin, former Government Actuary
  • John Monks, member of House of Lords and former General Secretary of ETUC and TUC
  • Win Robbins, former Head of European Fixed Income at Barclays Global Investors
  • Nigel Waterson, former Shadow Pensions Minister

Employee charges are just £1.50 per month administration charge (reduced administration charge of £0.30 – £1.00 to be applied during auto enrolment phasing for lower earners) plus a 0.3% annual product investment management charge, with no hidden charges.

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NOW: Pensions has a good technical infrastructure combined with a pension product suitable for our team. We couldn’t be happier with NOW: Pensions.
Martin Woods, SALT.agency