Informa to tie in auto-enrolment staging date with flexible benefits renewal

Informa may comply with the incoming pension reforms several months before its staging date in order to tie in with its flexible benefits renewal period and provide a buffer should it make any acquisitions.

The media firm’s staging date was originally August 2013 but this changed to July 2013 after it acquired another business.

Informa usually acquires parts of businesses, which means staff have to be added to its payroll systems at the point of sale. But if it bought an entire business that would be run as a separate legal entity, employees could remain on its payroll and Informa’s staging date would not be affected.

Thomas Humphris, head office HR and UK reward director, said: “Most of the time we purchase a part of a larger business, either a publication or an event.”

Informa is now deciding whether to comply with the legislation as early as January 2013, when the first of the year’s salary sacrifice deductions for benefits selected through flex are taken from employees’ salaries.

Humphris said: “We either bring it forward a couple of months to give us a buffer in the event of us making an
acquisition, or the other thought process around all of this is to bring it forward right to the beginning of the year [2013] when our employees are involved with our flex renewal.

“We will do our flex for the following year in the last two weeks of November and the first week of December 2012, so there is a three-week window where staff are selecting their [tax-efficient] benefits online. Historically, it has been a fantastic window to get people to enrol in the existing group personal pension.”

Informa will work with its adviser, Friends Life, to project what the additional cost of an earlier staging date will be.

Informa is likely to use specially developed software, which will also estimate the proportion of employees who will opt out, to model its costs.

The media firm, which has 3,200 employees in the UK, is looking at how it can add to, or adapt, its current HR and payroll systems to administer auto-enrolment. It is also looking to trial a new platform, which will allow employees to view all their investments, including details of their pension, in one place.

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Hear two case studies from Informa on 28 September at Employee Benefits Live 2011

Read more about the 2012 pension reforms