UK – As much as 22% of smaller companies – those employing between five and 10 staff - could incur government fines to a total value of £2.5bn (€4bn) for not having stakeholder pension arrangements in place in time for the October deadline, research undertaken by Virgin Direct finds.

All companies of five or more employees must have some form of arrangement up and running or face fines up to £50,000 by October 8, and this could hit as many as 50,270 companies , according to the research.

Says Gordon Maw, marketing manager at Virgin Direct:“With just eight weeks to go, the clock is very much ticking now for employers and there is a hardcore that intend to leave it to the last minute, particularly in the small business sector. Unfortunately they might find it hard to get a scheme set up in time and could get clobbered with a hefty fine s a result.”