With the Department for Business Innovation and Skills estimating that 30,000 SMEs employing 50-250 people will be meeting their auto-enrolment staging dates over the next 18 months, it may come as some comfort to those gearing up for the transition that a new advisory service has been launched specifically for smaller enterprises.

Amongst those getting auto-enrolled in pension schemes during this period, of course, will be many Umbrella Company employees. A new service to ensure a smooth transition into the scheme for SMEs will be welcome – no one wants to see any interruption or obstacle to their contracting assignments.

Pension consultancy and actuary firm Barnett Waddingham is partnering with Standard Life to develop an auto-enrolment product tailored to the specific needs of SMEs, some of which face staging dates in early 2014. Barnett Waddingham’s head of employee benefits, Damian Stancombe, said of the new service: “There is increasing behaviour in the marketplace which suggests that there is a growing fear of an auto-enrolment ‘saturation point’ in the SME space, which may leave many [employers] out in the cold when it comes to complying with their auto-enrolment staging date. We are looking forward to developing our relationship with Standard Life in a way which will allow us to create an auto-enrolment product with the specific needs of the SME market at the core of it.”

Standard Life’s workplace distribution director, Alan Reid, welcomed the new partnership and predicted that SME demand for support around implementation was poised to “increase dramatically”.

The partnership is dedicated, he added, to providing workplace pension arrangements that deliver optimal outcomes for smaller employers.

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