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Stakeholder pensions

With the introduction of automatic enrolment duties for employers, you no longer need to provide access to a stakeholder pension scheme for your staff.

Read more information on your automatic enrolment duties

Key points

  • Employers no longer need to provide access to a stakeholder pension scheme for their staff.
  • If you already have a stakeholder scheme you’ll still have duties while your staff pay into it.

Removal of stakeholder pension duties

Since the automatic enrolment legislation was introduced on 1 October 2012, employers with five or more staff no longer have to choose a stakeholder pension scheme for them.

Instead, you're now required to enrol staff into a pension scheme that can be used for automatic enrolment. You have automatic enrolment duties from the day your first member of staff starts working for you - this is called your duties start date.

Existing stakeholder schemes

The introduction of automatic enrolment duties doesn’t affect an employer’s obligation to its staff who are already members of a stakeholder scheme.

You must continue to deduct and pay the contributions for existing stakeholder schemes to the pension provider. This will continue to apply until the staff concerned stop paying contributions into their stakeholder pension.

Automatic enrolment and stakeholder pensions

You may be able to use your stakeholder scheme for automatic enrolment provided it meets the necessary criteria. If you want to use your existing scheme, ask the provider if it meets the automatic enrolment rules. If you can’t use it, you’ll need to choose a new scheme to meet your automatic enrolment duties.

There will be a period up to when you reach your staging date where some staff will not have an opportunity to join a work-based pension scheme. However, those individuals who wish to voluntarily join a stakeholder pension scheme will still be able to do so, but not necessarily through a scheme set up by you. The Pensions Regulator holds a register of stakeholder schemes that gives the details of the choice of stakeholder pensions available. To see a copy of this register, email us at If you have any questions regarding stakeholder pensions, call us on 0345 600 0707.

Please note:
A scheme can apply to register as a stakeholder pension scheme if it agrees to meet certain conditions on charges, access and the way that the scheme is run. The Pensions Regulator requires the trustees or the stakeholder manager who run the scheme to provide a signed declaration that they will meet the conditions set out in law. We don’t 'approve' any of the schemes listed on the register and can give no guarantees about the performance of a scheme or its suitability for any individual or employer. If you’re not sure whether a stakeholder pension scheme is right for you, you should seek independent advice.

Contributions to schemes provided by employers

You must pay staff contributions to schemes within a specified timescale. We’re responsible for dealing with any reports of late payment of contributions by employers.

If a stakeholder manager or trustee doesn’t receive the expected amount from you on the date it’s due, they have a statutory duty to report the matter to us.

We will monitor reports of late payments and may take appropriate action against you where necessary.

You need to keep payment records and tell the trustees or stakeholder manager of any changes.