Can You Change Your Workplace Pension Provider?

As a business owner, it’s easy to stick with the same pension provider for your workforce for years – simply because it can feel like a hassle to change it.

But as with anything, you could be getting a better deal elsewhere with lower fees, improved customer service and better investment options.

Reviewing your current provider is particularly important in the current climate. Research shows that growing numbers of workers are struggling with retirement anxiety fuelled by the cost-of-living crisis. A good pension scheme can give them peace of mind that their financial future is secure, and help them to feel valued.

So, not only is changing your workplace pension provider possible, it can improve employee satisfaction and boost engagement too.

Reasons why you might change your workplace pension provider

You might simply feel you’re not getting good value for money based on your annual fees. Shopping around could help you find a workplace pension provider offering lower fees and other incentives.

But fees aren’t the only consideration. You may be looking for a provider whose funds are performing better, or who can deliver a higher level of customer service and support. Auto enrolment was introduced in 2012 and hasn’t largely changed, it may not reflect the changing needs of your team and company.

Some providers offer ethical or sustainable funds giving businesses the opportunity to support their sustainability or corporate responsibility goals, and employees could value this. Offering a better pension scheme can help with employee retention as people look for meaningful benefits.

How to transfer workplace pension providers

Transferring workplace pension providers is a relatively simple process. The first step is informing your new workplace pension provider that you’re ready to switch. Next, contact your existing provider where you’re moving to. Your final step is communicating the move to employees.

Search for a new workplace pension provider

When searching for a new workplace pension provider you need to be clear about what you want. What are you missing from your current provider and what do you need from a new provider? A deep dive into your existing scheme will give you greater clarity and help with the search. It can help you identify what’s lacking currently so you can plug the gap.

There are many workplace pension providers out there who offer competitive pricing and attractive features. Before making any decisions, take the time to review the performance of funds, customer reviews and ratings, and whether it’s suitable for the size of your business. Getting advice from a qualified financial advisor can help you compare the products on offer and select the one most suitable for your business more easily.

When making enquiries, ask yourself whether the provider is easy to reach. Do they take the time to understand your business? And do they reflect your brand, and its values? From an employee’s perspective, is the website easy to navigate and jargon-free?

Notify your current workplace pension provider

Once you have decided on a new provider, you need to let your existing workplace pension provider know that you intend to move and where to. The two pension providers will handle the switch letting you know when it’s completed. You will then have to submit your employee data and onboard them to the new system.

Let your employees know

Telling your employees can be daunting – they may be wary of change or have a lot of questions.

It’s important to remind them that they are in control of their plan, and encourage them to access the self-service portal or website where they will usually find FAQs. You may decide to host a presentation and Q&A for people to find out more, or send out a letter or email with all the information, including the log-in details people need to get started. This is also an opportunity to explain why you’ve transferred to a provider and highlight the benefits for staff.

Your new pension provider will help to ensure that the transition is as smooth as it can be. They should provide resources and other information to help you inform those on the scheme about the different options available to them, and they may provide a welcome pack for reference.

Many employees are guilty of not looking at how their workplace pension is performing. But changing providers could be an opportunity to engage them and make sure they are happy with their funds. They could also decide that, following a pay rise, that they want to increase their contributions to be more tax-efficient. Again, it’s a chance to start a conversation and remind them they are in control.

Get expert workplace pension advice

Changing workplace pension providers can be time-consuming, especially when it comes to comparing the benefits of different companies. Small businesses, in particular, don’t always have the resources to carry out extensive research even if they aren’t happy with their current market. A pension advisor can take the load from them and their understanding of the market means they are well-placed to help you secure the most suitable deal.