Stakeholder deadline sees last minute rush to sign up

A third of employers have not met the stakeholder pension deadline according
to estimates by the Association of British Insurers.

All employers with more than five employees were required to have introduced
a stakeholder scheme by 8 October if they had no pension provision, or face
fines of up to £50,000.

More than 100,000 employers have missed the deadline, despite a last minute
rush by firms.

Stephen Sklaroff, the ABI’s deputy director-general, said, "Many
providers are reporting a rush of employers signing up for stakeholders.

"No-one knows precisely what the figure is but best estimates put it as
somewhere between 300,000 and 350,000.

"It is unlikely that all of them signed up by the deadline but the
figures so far look promising. We hope the rest will follow as soon as

The latest figures from the ABI reveal that during August alone more than
25,000 employers designated a stakeholder pension scheme and 64,000 new
pensions were set up.

Sklaroff said the introduction of the stakeholder pension has also led to an
increase in the sales of individual and group personal pensions. He added,
"The introduction of the stakeholder pension together with the wider
stakeholder effect is good news.

"Recent research for the ABI calculates that the savings gap now totals
£27bn a year. Stakeholder makes a good start in encouraging people to save but
more must be done."

Nick Edmans, a spokesman for pensions watchdog, the Occupational Pensions
Regulatory Authority, said initially employers only have to choose a registered
stakeholder scheme and inform their staff, to comply with the regulations.

By Ben Willmott

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