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No tech for small stakeholders

Stakeholder schemes for small employers could have to be paper-based because of a dispute between life offices and software providers over Autif-owned trading platform emx.

An Emx proposal, backed by the Banking and Accounting Software Developers&#39 Association, for a central electronic hub to link pension providers to small companies&#39 payroll systems was unanimously rejected by the life offices.

Basda, which represents 370 software companies, says the rejection means that small company schemes may have to be paper-based because there is no time to develop alternatives.

Legal & General and Abbey Life are now involved in a last-minute attempt to construct an alternative system with two of Basda&#39s members.

But other life offices, notably Scottish Amicable, say their own systems will be able to cope.

Basda chief executive Dennis Keeling says: “Some of our members have now said it is too late to implement electronic remittance messages. This is an unmitigated disaster. The life industry has now got to deal with paper.”

Scottish Amicable e-commerce and marketing director Gavin Stewart says: “We feel a hub is unnecessary in the short term. Companies are likely to have only one stakeholder provider. We provide tailored stakeholder support on our extranet. We feel this one-to-one basis provides a much richer and better service.”

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