Employers that do not review their existing records will often end up recording inaccurate, inconsistent or duplicated data, which can then become entrenched in their enrolment and payroll systems. This could cause a range of problems, from mismanaging contributions to the issuing of inappropriate member communications.
In the worst cases it could see employees missing out financially by not being re-enrolled, missing the employer contributions and failing to meet the member outcomes that AE was envisaged to have.
These issues even have the potential to cause financial damage. The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has already announced that it issued 2,248 compliance notices up to the end of Sept 2015 alone for failing to comply with regulations on AE.
Larger employers have had three years to adapt their systems to AE, so schemes that do not reconcile their data may find the TPR’s patience wearing thin. The regulatory body has already stated that it will be auditing employee data and compliance, so it’s important that businesses are well prepared and confident that their records are compliant.
To avoid these risks, it is essential that businesses use re-enrolment as an opportunity to review their HR and payroll systems, and properly reconcile employee data. Employers should conduct annual audits on AE compliance.
These yearly checks can help employers to keep track of opt-outs, contribution reductions and other changes in their workforce that could affect pension eligibility. Schemes using this method can gain peace of mind ahead of re-enrolment that they hold the correct data that complies with TPR regulation.
To make the process of auditing for re-enrolment easier, employers can now benefit from middleware systems that can take responsibility for the entire procedure, managing opt-outs, contributions and regulatory communications. Systems like these can run validation reports to meet TPR requirements, working in conjunction with existing HR and payroll systems.
This can save employers a great deal of work, particularly at a time when other pension issues such as GMP reconciliation are on the agenda, and also help employers to avoid the risk of fines by the TPR.
What is important to remember is that this isn’t just a one off. Re-enrolment is an ongoing procedure that will occur every three years, and businesses must therefore make it an intrinsic aspect of their business operations by streamlining systems and conducting annual checks on their data.
Leaving systems as they are will only cause future problems that are likely to attract the attention of TPR. It’s therefore essential that businesses take the opportunity to review their systems now, so that they can reap the benefits of a less time-consuming enrolment procedure, both now and in the future.
You can also read the full article on the Professional Pensions website.