Barclays and Standard Life have agreed a deal that will see the bank offer the provider’s workplace pension scheme to small and medium-sized companies.
Barclays says users of its “Auto-enrolment Advantage” solution will be able to establish a fund within minutes, providing they can supply certain data. It says more experienced investors will be able to choose a self-investment option that gives access to over 250 funds.
Barclays will provide employers with guidance ahead of the scheme being set up, with Standard Life establishing a qualifying scheme on their behalf.
The next auto-enrolment staging date is July 1. It will see companies with between 62 and 89 employees begin automatically enrolling workers into pension schemes.
Barclays head of corporate and employer solutions Richard Phelps says: “It is thought that to date only 2 per cent of UK companies have successfully completed the auto enrolment process.
“We are at a critical point as SMEs now start reaching their staging dates in large numbers. Reports suggest that many companies are either unaware of their statutory obligations or are underestimating the scale of the challenge ahead of them, threatening the success of auto-enrolment to date. “
Standard Life managing director adviser and workplace Barry O’Dwyer says: “Auto-enrolment is a real challenge for smaller organisations as they often don’t have the same support network as larger companies. So the current lack of SME engagement is understandable, but we need to tackle it head on to ensure their employees have access to one of the most valuable workplace benefits on offer.”