Maybe some of you too have been notified of your staging date. Its all the work of The PENSIONS REGULATOR. Apparently its not a scam. Just like parents who employ nannies, patent and trademark agent employers are now required to set up a scheme so that after the staging date (not before) you can write elaborate letters to all your staff - including yourself if you employ yourself, as I do, telling them all about their automatic enrolment in the glossy new firm pension scheme and how their pay cheque will be reduced. Maybe they will all opt out, but its a crime to presume that. A scheme must exist even if it never receives a penny.
I asked my personal pension provider. Like many in the industry it was SO not interested. Well who can blame it. The chances are no funds would flow in or very modest ones for which the charges would swamp any possible returns. This is just a fact of life. For those with only pennies to invest a piggy bank is best.
There are at present (only) 47 companies offering schemes. They are on a register here. It includes some that are closed for new business and many with restrictions.
It seems that some professions have offered their members schemes to help. Not heard anything though from The IET, the SRA, ITMA or CIPA, but perhaps I have missed it. The only one I could find offering help on the Internet was the BMA. Good to know your GP's pension is sorted!
In any event, it seems the only practicable scheme is the one run by the Government. Its called NEST not to be confused with NESTA the once government owned innovation body that may be more familiar to those in our industry.
You might think there is a little irony or at least some wasteful administrative circularity in replacing part of the state pension scheme with another state pension scheme. I do.
The reason why professional bodies were encouraged to help was that they might have the membership clout to set up communal schemes to which small members could sign up even if their staff were more likely than not to opt out, either because they are so poorly paid any reduction from their wages is untenable, or because they have independent arrangements and would in effect be paying the employer's contribution from their own pockets. Does CIPA already run a stakeholder scheme for its own staff - can we piggy back on it?