Struggling with auto-enrolment? Lighthouse can help.

Lighthouse Group plc (“Lighthouse” or the “Group”), the national financial advisory group with 19 affinity relationships representing more than 6 million members, is delighted to announce that the Pensions Regulator (“TPR”) has approved and added the Corporate Pensions Trust, sponsored by Lighthouse and incorporating the Group’s proprietary offering the Lighthouse Pensions Trust, to its list of approved Master Trust pension schemes for auto-enrolment. 

This means that employers can confidently choose the Lighthouse Pensions Trust (“LPT”) as their fully-advised auto enrolment solution. So why is it important for employers and businesses to have professional pensions advice when setting up a workplace pension scheme? Roger Sanders, head of Workplace Distribution at Lighthouse, explains why using a specialist could end up saving you money.

If, like many small businesses, you don’t have a payroll or HR function, complying with auto-enrolment is likely to cause you a real administrative headache. The process is much more complex and time-consuming than you imagine.  It is also easy to get it wrong: if you do, you could end up with a fine from The Pensions Regulator – £400 as a warning, followed by £50 a day if you have fewer than 5 staff; if you have 5 or more staff the fine is £500 a day.

Lighthouse through its LPT offers you the whole solution in one place, wrapped up with full hands-on support from pension professionals that have been running pension schemes for decades.  LPT requires little input from you – leaving you to get on with running your business.

How Does LPT work?

Lighthouse makes setting-up and running your scheme easy – our local adviser will visit you to explain everything to do with set-up and a dedicated member of our UK-based team will run the scheme for you.  All we need from you are your staff details at outset, earnings details each pay period and payment of the contributions.

LPT is part of the Corporate Pensions Trust Master Trust, which makes it a simple and secure solution in two key ways:

  • it is a multi-employer pension scheme that you can adopt as your own, saving all the trouble involved in running your own scheme;
  • it is looked after by Trustees who are responsible for overseeing the pension scheme and ensuring that it is managed appropriately for the benefit of its members.

In the case of LPT, there are three corporate trustees overseeing the scheme, including two fully independent of Lighthouse. The first, Bridge Trustees Limited, which chairs the Trustee Board, is a specialist independent pension trustee company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Eversheds Sutherland LLP – one of the largest law firms in the world.  Bridge Trustees Limited has delivered trustee services for over 150 years. The other independent corporate trustee – BESTrustees Limited – is one of the UK’s leading independent pension trustee companies and provides such services for more than 150 pension funds. In addition to the above, Lighthouse Benefits Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lighthouse, is the third corporate trustee.

The Trustees have a legal duty to run the Trust in the best interests of the scheme members and have to demonstrate that they are qualified to run the scheme. They must have the required knowledge to run things appropriately and are subject to regular monitoring by the TPR.

What standards did Lighthouse have to meet in order to gain TPR approval?

The Lighthouse sponsored Corporate Pensions Trust, incorporating the LPT, Master Trust had to undergo an independent audit to satisfy the stringent requirements of the Master Trust Assurance Framework designed by the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) in conjunction with TPR. The assurance framework helps trustees assess whether their scheme meets the equivalent standards of governance and administration to those set out in the DC code. This code of practice sets out the standards of conduct and practice that TPR expects trustee boards of occupational pension schemes to comply with.

Obtaining master trust assurance shows that the pension scheme has been subject to an independent review of the description, design and effective operation of its governance and administration practices against a defined set of control objectives.

The master trust assurance framework and the associated listings on the TPR website also help employers find a pension scheme that has been independently reviewed which they can select to help them meet their statutory obligations to establish auto-enrolment compliant workplace pension schemes for their employees.

Why is this important and how can Lighthouse help?

For members, this means that you have independent specialists overseeing the operation of your workplace pension scheme. You do not need to be an expert in pension schemes yourself, as the Trustees will oversee the scheme on your and your employees’ behalf. The same goes for employers with experts looking after the interests of your staff. This all happens without you having to take time away from running your business.

The good news is our set-up service covers the whole auto-enrolment process. We can remove the hassle of auto-enrolment by setting up your scheme for you. Our auto-enrolment specialists cover the whole of the UK and will come and meet you or speak by phone, and explain what we do. Then, if you decide to go ahead, you simply give the relevant basic payroll information and we do the rest.

Our set-up service covers the whole auto-enrolment process. Action Plan

  • Telling the Pensions Regulator who your point of contact is
  • Assessing your workforce and sort into three categories
  • Working out how auto-enrolment fits in with your payroll
  • Recommending and setting-up a qualifying scheme
  • Telling your employees about the scheme, including statutory communications
  • Start paying employer contributions and deducting employee contributions on or before your staging date
  • Registering your scheme with the Pensions Regulator by completing the online Declaration of Compliance
  • On-going employee assessment, communication, contribution payments

Why use us? Local support from an established national business

We provide the hands-on local support you need to set up your workplace pension and comply with auto-enrolment requirements from start to finish and for a fixed fee. We aim to make this as straightforward and easy as possible for them no hidden charges, no jargon, and the minimum paperwork. We provide hands-on local support wherever you are based, backed by our administration and support centre based in Stockport, for employers needing to set up a workplace pension scheme for their employees and to comply with their auto-enrolment statutory requirements.

Lighthouse Workplace Solutions (“LWS”) was set up to give small and medium-sized businesses access to modern, cost-effective workplace pension schemes and other employee benefits.

You can find out more at: www.lighthousegroup.plc.uk/services/auto-enrolment

LWS is a division of LighthouseCarrwood Limited, the independent financial advisory firm specialising in working with accountancy firms and their clients and which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lighthouse Group plc, one of the largest autonomous financial advisory groups in the UK. As such, LWS has access to and can draw on the considerable resources within and extensive experience across the Lighthouse Group of setting up and administering workplace pensions for employers of all sizes. We have already assisted hundreds of SMEs across the country in setting-up workplace pensions, removing the stress by managing the whole procedure for them.

Find out more

The benefit of an on-boarding and management service such as ours is that for little additional cost you can rely on us to ensure you meet your auto-enrolment duties. It is certainly cheaper than the fines you could incur for getting it wrong. To discuss how we can take the hassle out of setting up your workplace pension and complying with the complexities of auto-enrolment, not to mention minimising the costs to your business and taking away the risk of being fined, call 0330 123 2530 or email wpsenquiries@lighthousegeb.co.uk

NB. Our automatic enrolment services are not subject to the rules and guidance of the Financial Conduct Authority. We comply with the rules and guidance of The Pensions Regulator in advising on matters relating to automatic enrolment. Lighthouse Workplace Solutions is a trading name of LighthouseCarrwood Limited, an appointed representative of Lighthouse Advisory Services Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. LighthouseCarrwood Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lighthouse Group plc.