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Friends Life targets SMEs with ‘flexible’ auto-enrol charging

Friends Life has introduced a new automatic enrolment charging structure as the provider looks to cater for the SME market.

This year tens of thousands of small and medium sized-employers will reach their auto-enrolment staging date.

The scale of the challenge facing the industry has led to warnings of a “capacity crunch” as providers struggle to service the SME market.

Friends Life has today announced a new charging structure designed to support employers who do not have access to advice.

The provider has introduced a more flexible per member, per month fee structure – alongside a one-off up front charge of £1,000 – for employers who want to pay for auto-enrolment support.

These support services include employee communications and help with auto-enrolment compliance. Employers who only require staging without extra support will be able to do so free of charge.

Friends Life corporate benefits managing director Colin Williams says: “The profile of companies staging during 2014 is very different from before.

“We expect to see firms without in-house pensions specialists or external advisers making important benefits decisions on behalf of their employees, while relying on payroll and pensions providers to provide expertise to help with technical issues.

“We understand that not all companies will have the ability to pay for advice and may need support on topics such as compliance, legislation and technology. As a result we have introduced these changes to meet the needs of the next wave of companies staging this year.”

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