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The Latest update on National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) 
From October 2012 UK employers must automatically enrol employees into a ‘qualifying workplace pension scheme’. This auto enrolment could be to your existing company pension scheme if it meets certain criteria. If it does not meet the criteria or if you do not operate a company pension scheme then your employees will be enrolled into National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), a scheme being introduced by the Government.

Between October 2012 and 2017, depending on the size of company, all UK employers will be required to contribute a minimum of 3% of each employee’s eligible earnings into a pension, assuming the employee does not “opt out”. This is intended to incentivise them to start saving towards their retirement. Employees will need to pay a personal contribution of 4% with a further 1% tax relief being added to make the minimum contribution 8%.

Compulsory employer and employee contributions will be phased in.

What is the definition of a ‘Qualifying Scheme’?

Those employers that offer pension schemes which are equivalent to, or provide more generous benefits, than NEST will be allowed to automatically enrol their employees into those schemes rather than NEST.

For an existing or new scheme to be classed as a qualifying scheme it must meet the following minimum criteria for contributions:

FINAL SALARY PENSION SCHEME (contracted out) - Accrual rate of at least 1/80th of pensionable pay

FINAL SALARY PENSION SCHEME (contracted in) - Accrual rate of at least 1/120th of pensionable pay

MONEY PURCHASE, STAKEHOLDER or GROUP PERSONAL PENSION PLAN - Minimum contribution of 8% of all qualifying earnings. (between £5,715 and £43,875 pa in 2010/2011 terms) with at least 3% paid by the employer. Schemes must offer a default investment option but will be able to offer an additional choice of funds if they want to.

Are all employers affected?

Self-employed and single director companies will be unable to use auto-enrolment, however they will still be able to use NEST accounts.

Every other business with eligible employees will need to comply with the regulations, even if there is only one employee who meets the criteria.

How attractive is the state scheme for its members?

Currently, there are plans to levy a two percent charge on contributions to pay for the start-up costs of the pension. This is for the repayment of a rumored 600 million pounds that the state is spending to set up the scheme. This is in addition to the 0.3 percent annual management fee.

As long as the two percent contribution charge is in place the potential returns of investors will be eroded.

Should we set up our own scheme rather than go down the ‘NEST’ route?

If you want to attract the best people to your company you will need to offer a pension scheme that offers a choice of good quality funds and low charges.

If you do not already have a pension scheme now is the time to start planning for one.

We can help your company set up a ‘qualifying workplace pension scheme’ that will provide more choice and better results for you and all your valued employees. Contact us today.



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