Hello. We have made a number of new changes to the platform with this update which will improve the experience for our clients. The most important change is the way we treat signatories and admins of a scheme, giving more flexibility for employers and advisers to manage their schemes. 

1. a. Signatories & Admins vs Contributing Employees

All schemes require a signatory (the director of the business who signs the participation agreement) but admins are optional. The previous process required that both Signatories and Admins be included on the payroll file, despite the fact that they may be exempt and therefore not need to contribute to the scheme. 

This update allows an admin or signatory to be added to the scheme, but excluded from the list of contributing employees.

1.b. What changes for you?

In making this change we have had to separate admins and signatories from employees. admins & signatories are still under the Company Details dashboard. But employees are now found under the Scheme Set Up dashboard.

If you have created a scheme with contributing employees before this change, then we will have moved your records to the new location for you. So you can continue to use the account in exactly the same way as before.

If you are about to create a new scheme and add new employees then we will direct you to the new location in the to-do list.

One last change is that we have removed the role of the 'manager'. A manager was identical to an admin, except that a manager could not create a group and therefore an employer contribution percentage. This feature has been removed as it was barely used, primarily, according to feedback, that people administering a scheme would nearly always need to be able to update the employer percentage - ie the manager role was largely redundant and potentially confusing.

2.a. Changes to groups

Groups were an optional feature and still are. Groups allow you to organise employees under specific labels, like 'managers' and 'sales' for example. Once a group was created you could set the employer percentage and decide if the employer percentage needed to be matched by the employee in order for the employee to benefit from the full employer percentage on offer.

2.b. What changes for you?

Groups are now a "label" on an employee. You can continue to organise your employees using a group name, and it is now a label you can use to filter your employees. You can continue to create groups under scheme set up.

You can still edit the employer percentage for many employees, but you should now do this in the new Bulk Update Employee tool. This same tool lets you update the group, employee percentage and match option for all employees (or a subset of employees).

Any existing groups and percentages you have previously created will continue to work in exactly the same way as you set them up.

Additional Improvements

3. Employee view in-line edit

In addition to the bulk update tool, we have improved the way you can quickly edit specific details of an employee's record. In the payroll & contributions section there is the same employee contribution and opt out Info view. This table lists many details about each employee, but now includes an in-line edit function so you can edit the employee's details there and then on the page, rather than having to click through to a new page to view and edit each employee's record.

Click the 'edit' link next to the view button and the editable fields for that employee will expand below.

Here you can change the date of birth, employment start date, employer percentage and employee percentage. Press the update button to save any changes.

4. Employer & Employee percentage rules

One last point that is worthy of note is that we have altered the validation on the combined, employer and employee percentage total. Previously we required that both the employer and the employee percentages equalled the current minimums set by the Pensions Regulator for each entity. Henceforth, you can set the employer percentage to 2% and the employee percentage to 0% (currently 2%).

The same logic will apply when the legally required minimums are increased (April 2018 - 5% then April 2019 - 8%), but don't worry, we'll update the minimums automatically when they do change.

5. Invoices

This update also includes an improvement to the invoices we generate. The next invoices we produce in the account will include an employee level breakdown of the contributions that have been debited per company.

6. Summary

We've made a number of big, under-the-hood changes, but for the most part these changes should not change the way you use your Smart Pension account.

If you have any questions or have additional features to suggest, please feel free to get in touch.

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