Standard Life boss:SMEs crucial to pensions switch

David Nish, chief executive of Standard Life, will address Liberal Democrats. Picture: Complimentary
David Nish, chief executive of Standard Life, will address Liberal Democrats. Picture: Complimentary
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STANDARD Life chief executive David Nish will today tell a fringe event at the Liberal Democrats’ annual conference in Glasgow that there has been an “encouraging start” for the UK government’s auto enrolment pension scheme – but that the next phase that brings in small business will be “crucial”.

Under auto-enrolment, staff will automatically be added to their employer’s pension scheme unless they opt out.

The rules have already come into force for larger companies and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be added to the scheme in stages over the coming months.

Nish said: “With an industry opt out average of around 10 per cent – compared to the predicted 20 per cent to 30 per cent – we have seen a really encouraging start to the rollout of auto enrolment. Though we must acknowledge it is still early days.

“We are now entering a period where small and medium-sized companies will be implementing auto enrolment into their businesses. This will be a crucial period.

“Many lack the resources of larger businesses so it is vital they get the necessary support to help make auto enrolment a success for their employees.”

Pensions minister Steve Webb will debate changes to pensions law during an event this evening at the Lib Dem conference organised by JLT Investment Consulting.