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This new legislation requires an employer to automatically enrol any worker into a qualifying workplace pension scheme from a specified date. The principle of this sounds reasonably straight forward, that is until an employer starts to investigate the more detailed requirements which include the following :-

  • The pension scheme provided must meet the qualifying workplace pension scheme conditions.
  • The employer has to assess the eligibility of staff against prescribed terms and those staff eligible need to be auto enrolled into the pension scheme.
  • Auto enrolled staff are allowed to opt out and if this occurs within a specific timescale the employer has to refund all contributions paid to the pension plan.
  • Those staff who opt out have to be auto enrolled again broadly at every third anniversary of the pension scheme.  
  • Non eligible staff have rights that allow them to ask to be included in the pension scheme.
  • The employer must assess each non eligible member of staff every pay period and auto enrol a member of staff if they meet the eligibility conditions.
  • The employer must communicate with every member to advise them of their rights and options and in a timely manner.
  • The employer must maintain detailed records to demonstrate that they have met the auto enrolment regulations. 

These are just some of the new and ongoing requirements that an employer must address if they are to comply with these regulations and avoid material fines. 

There is some comfort to taken from knowing that many employers have already had to comply with these regulations and as a result a body of experience has already been built up. Also various third party concerns have developed suitable supporting services. Experience to date has shown that many employers have struggled in not having started their considerations earlier enough. In our view this should be started some 6 months prior to a company’s ‘staging’ date, the date they have to comply by. There is also evidence of common difficulties which is useful to know when focusing possibly limited client resources.

Optima have already built up a material amount of experience in working with employers in understanding and meeting their auto enrolment obligations.  This support has included the following :-

  • Establishing a clients understanding of the requirements
  • Establishing the potential financial impact given the various options available
  • Advising on the options available and developing a suitable auto enrolment solution to address both the initial and ongoing requirements
  • Developing a suitable project plan showing key tasks and critical dates
  • Establishing suitable qualifying workplace pension scheme(s), as required 
  • Preparation of a suitable communications 
  • Overseeing the implementation of the plan
  • If you would like more information or would like to meet to consider your Auto enrolment obligations then please contact Tony Harvie, Director in the first instance.