Standard Life Share Price: SMEs Will Play Crucial Role in Pensions Reform

Written by: Farquar McIntosh
September 17, 2013, Tuesday, September 17: David Nish, the Chief Executive Officer of Edinburgh-based insurer Standard Life Plc (LON:SL), has spoken on the UK government auto-enrolment pension scheme, highlighting the important role small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the eventual success of pensions reform. Under auto-enrolment employees will automatically be added to their employer’s pension scheme unless they opt out. The rules have already come into force for larger companies and SMEs will be starting to implement them in the next few months. According to Nish, this stage will be “crucial”.

Nish’s comments were made ahead of his speech at the Liberal Democrat’s annual conference in Glasgow yesterday.
In today’s trading, Standard Life shares were down 0.19 percent at 353.43p as of 8:31 BST.

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**SMEs and auto-enrolment**
“With an industry opt out average of around 10 percent compared to the predicted 20% to 30% we have seen a really encouraging start to the roll out of auto enrolment. Though we must acknowledge it is still early days,” Nish said.

The next step will be “crucial”, according to Nash, with it involving the implementation of the new rules in small and medium-sized businesses. He accented on the central role SMEs had to the UK’s economy, noting that these types of enterprises accounted for 99 percent of businesses in the country and employed over 14 million people. But at the same time, many of those businesses lack the resources of larger companies, which could make the process of implementing auto-enrolment challenging for them. “[I]t is vital they get the necessary support to help make auto enrolment a success for their employees,” Nish said. He added that his company “is leading the way in this area”.

!m[Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Need Support, Company’s CEO Says](/uploads/story/5506/thumbs/pic1_inline.png)
**Standard Life contribution**
Nish said that giving SMEs “the helping hand they need to meet their regulatory responsibilities” has been a vital focus for Standard Life. He noted that the company managed 35,000 workplace pension schemes, with the vast majority of clients being SME businesses. This has allowed the company to improve its systems to deal with “the increased capacity auto enrolment will bring”.
“Addressing Britain’s savings challenge requires a sustained partnership between government, the industry, employers and employees,” Nish said.
**As of 8:21 BST buy Standard Life shares at 354.50 pence**
**As of 8:21 BST sell Standard Life shares at 354.10 pence**