With recent findings by independent financial research firm Defaqto suggesting that 89% of IFAs are concerned that the UK’s SMEs are struggling to identify the best pension provider for their workforce, a new ‘provider neutral’ interactive auto-enrolment tool by Aviva may provide some invaluable assistance.

The Pensions Regulator estimates that between April and the close of 2014, approximately 30,000 SMEs – amongst them numerous Umbrella Companies – will be ‘staged in’ to the government’s flagship auto-enrolment scheme and will need to have in place an occupational pension conforming to the new rules.

The new Aviva tool may prove just the ticket for advisers to SMEs, simplifying their tasks considerably and helping to pare back costs. The tool provides a step-by-step guide to the complex process and features a ‘traffic light’ system to flag up tasks yet to be completed.

Aviva’s head of platform development, Billy Burnside, said: “Our experience tells us that some employers are struggling to grasp all of the processes around auto-enrolment and are increasingly turning to advisers and providers for help. While there is a lot of information freely available about automatic enrolment, there is little practical help to support advisers wanting to engage with employers and support them through their staging.”

The new interactive tool, he explained, will free up advisers’ time by enabling them to automatically manage a firm’s staging requirements for numerous employees across a choice of multiple providers from a single online hub. Advisers will thereby remain at the centre of the staging process while avoiding administrative overload, and employers needing help will “have a clear roadmap for getting their staging right”.

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