UK – Confusion still reigns amongst small businesses in the UK over their obligations for stakeholder pensions, despite today’s launch of the new pensions system in the UK (April 6).

According to a survey by Marks & Spencer Financial Services - the Stakeholder Barometer, two-thirds of small businesses have yet to take action on stakeholder, despite the fact that 44% incorrectly believe that they should have been offering their employees access to a scheme by today’s launch date.

The correct date for employers to ensure that workers have the possibility to join a stakeholder plan is October 8.
However, the survey does reveal that there has been a marked increase in the number of companies, which are aware of their responsibilities - from a quarter in January to 40% today.

There is evidence that employers already offering group personal pensions (GPPs) are taking up the stakeholder call, with 14% now offering their staff access to stakeholder compliant GPPs, up to 59% from 45% in January.
Nevertheless, nearly two-thirds of small businesses believe that they will need to implement a new scheme or make changes to an existing one – with the most common option being to take out a GPP.

According to the survey, companies with five to twenty employees are the least clued up on stakeholder, with 66% claiming ignorance of the implementation.

In the public at large, the survey finds that 70% are still unaware of stakeholder and that only six per cent intend to take any action in the near future.