UK – One in six British small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) say they are unsure or have no intention of offering their staff access to a stakeholder pension scheme, despite the possibility of being fined up to £50,000 (e80,000), according to a survey by the Prudential insurance group.

At the same time, almost all (96%) of the firms say that they are aware of the launch of stakeholder this Friday (April 6).

However, the percentage of companies planning to offer workers access to a scheme has risen considerably since last year.
“The good news is that 96% of the firms said that they are aware of the launch of stakeholder pensions and that 83% plan to offer staff access to a scheme. Last year, only 69% of the SMEs surveyed planned to offer their employees a stakeholder scheme,” says Sean Tompkins, marketing director at Prudential Financial Services.

Over two thirds (68%) of employers have already started considering, which stakeholder scheme to offer their employees, the survey reports.
Three quarters (74%) of the companies are aware of the potential fines for failing to offer workers a stakeholder plan, while only 40% currently know of the October deadline, says the report.

Only a minority (15%) of British employers still consider stakeholders to be a great burden for the company.
“A positive indicator is that many companies now realise that stakeholder implementation does not have to be a major problem. It is, however, imperative that employers pay close attention not only to choosing a scheme with attractive funds, but also to selecting a provider with strong customer and administrative support packages,” concludes Tompkins.