How Smart Pension is supporting you and your clients plus a video message from our CEO
We hope you are keeping safe and well during the current situation caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19). We wanted to take this opportunity to update you on how we, at Smart Pension, are responding and to reassure you that we are here to help you and your clients through this difficult time. Before we do that, here's a quick message from our CEO and founder, Andrew Evans.
Supporting you and your clients
How has Smart’s customer support been affected?
Firstly, and most importantly, all of our customer help centres are open as normal and all staff are successfully working from home (as per the government guidelines). As a technology-first company, we are not reliant on physically being in the office to continue serving our customers and are used to remote working. This means that you shouldn’t see any change to the availability or responsiveness of your contacts during this period. We have a daily business continuity meeting where we closely monitor service trends and customer behaviour, which also informs our thinking on any changes we need to make to help and support our customers.
Helping employers meet their auto enrolment duties
The Pensions Regulator has been clear that employers are still responsible for meeting their duties under the auto enrolment legislation. This applies equally to employers who have furloughed workers under the government’s Job Retention Scheme, although employers can claim for some pension costs for their furloughed workers as long as those costs are paid over to the pension scheme. We have added helpful content to our website, and further guidance from the Government can be found here.
We understand that some employers may have difficulty with cash flow and meeting short-term payments. Employers in this situation should not cancel their Direct Debits for their pension contributions. Instead, they should contact us as we have introduced a new payment plan option to give employers more flexibility in managing cash flow during the current difficult time if they need it, whilst still meeting their duties. If you have clients who are struggling or who are thinking about cancelling Direct Debits, please ask them to contact us in the usual way ([email protected]).
We have received an increased number of queries from members who wish to cease contributions for financial reasons. This is understandable during the current time, but we want to make the process to rejoin and restart saving as easy and simple as possible. That’s why we are:
- Proactively communicating with members who have ceased their membership (from 1 March), but have not left employment. This communication offers the member the opportunity to take a contribution holiday rather than ceasing contributions. Members can take contribution holidays up to either their August or November salaries.
- For new requests, we are adding a new feature to members’ accounts to allow them to select a temporary contribution pause. This option will also be offered when members call us with the aim of ceasing contributions.
We have kept The Pensions Regulator informed of our approach and they have acknowledged the response we are implementing. We hope these changes go some way in assisting employers to remain compliant and also helping people to continue saving when it is easier for them to do so.
I'd also like to reassure you that Smart Pension remains open for new business.
Please get in touch with your usual business development contact to discuss and agree terms. Every member of the team continues to operate, albeit remotely.
- We can host virtual client demos, beauty parades and clarification meetings.
- Our technology allows full digital scheme set up and management together with e signatures and webchat support.
- Our implementation team is on hand to help you and your client get set up.
If you have any questions or want to discuss any aspect of this communication, please feel free to reach out to your usual Smart contact or email us at [email protected] or call us on 0333 666 2020.