Smart Pension: Riding the wave of workplace pensions

Smart Pension, a London-based startup, was co-founded in 2014 by  Andrew Evans, chief executive, and Will Wynne, managing director, to help tackle the UK auto-enrolment challenge and assist millions of employees to start saving for their future through a workplace pension.

In early-September, the firm was awarded a Defaqto 5 Star Rating award for auto- enrolment, further strengthening their proposition in the market. The five-star rating, which is Defaqto’s top score, was awarded for the company’s innovative and highly advanced technology platform, following a detailed and stringent audit by Defaqto.

“This independent rating is a great big tick in the box for us because it demonstrates we’ve got the scale, stability and ease of access small firms in particular will need,” says Mr Evans.

“Smart Pension’s advanced functionality was specifically developed to cater for the smallest firms as they grapple with pensions, often for the first time. This high score also shows we are making good progress on our long-term ambition to be a key player in the market offering a service focused on smaller firms.”

Around 1.8 million small businesses and micro employers are expected to embark on the auto-enrolment process over the next three years, with more than half a million of those due to meet their workplace pensions obligations next year. This number has increased considerably from the previous estimate by the Pensions Regulator, which was at 1.3 million.

It is thought that the reason for the revision and the dramatic rise is due to the increase in new business startups, which is much higher than anticipated, combined with fewer business closures than expected.

Auto-enrolment has proved to be a success since its introduction in 2012, a much welcomed initiative after a long line of failed attempts in trying to get the UK working population on board with pension savings.

So far, auto-enrolment has helped many millions of people to start to save or to put aside more for their eventual retirement, seeing a 12 per cent increase in employees across the UK in an active pension.

However, despite these promising statistics, the Pensions Regulator has stressed that the revised figures demonstrate there are still significant challenges ahead and the pensions sector will need to plan and prepare themselves for the influx of employers reaching their staging date during the next three years.

Smart Pension is one of the few platforms that guarantees to accept every UK employer and employee

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has acknowledged this and has been ramping up its marketing campaign to further heighten public awareness and that of employers running small and micro firms, as well as the thousands of new business startups that have recently joined the UK market.

This summer, millionaire businessman and Dragons’ Den entrepreneur Theo Paphitis spearheaded the government’s television campaign, targeting small employers with auto-enrolment just around the corner.

More recently, however, the DWP has taken a somewhat different approach and has adopted a giant, furry monster named Workie as its workplace pensions mascot in a campaign estimated to have cost £8.45 million. With the rise and impact of social media in mind, the campaign has the hashtag #Dontignoreit.

As almost two million employers need to auto-enrol their employees between now and 2018, Smart Pension is one of the few platforms that guarantees to accept every UK employer and employee. This pledge will prove to be a vital feature for thousands of small businesses and micro firms about to take on board their new auto-enrolment duties over the next few years.

Smart Pension has recently acquired sponsorship of the GenLife Master Trust, which will not only increase its capacity to manage a huge influx of companies, putting them ahead of the game, but also position the company as one of the largest players in the auto-enrolment market, specialising in helping smaller firms.

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