Auto-enrolment began in October 2012 for the largest employers and it is now a legal requirement that all UK employees who meet the eligibility criteria are enrolled into a suitable Qualifying Workplace Pension by their employer.

Auto-enrolment legislation was introduced because a large number of the working population in the UK are not saving enough for retirement, or taking advantage of private pension schemes that may be on offer. As people are living longer, with an increasing proportion of people of retirement age compared to those of working age, auto-enrolment is a Government initiative to increase private retirement savings and reduce reliance on the State.

Employers now have to auto-enrol any eligible employee. An eligible employee is anyone aged between 22 and State pension age, whose earnings are over the income tax personal allowance.

If an employee is aged between 16 and 22, or over the State pension age but under 75 and wants to opt in, then an employer will have to contribute if they earn more than the personal allowance threshold.

If an employee earns less than the personal allowance, they can still opt in, but the employer does not have to contribute.

The statutory minimum contribution is 8% of band earnings of which the employer must pay a minimum of 3%.

Many existing schemes will have contributions based on a different measurement of earnings. In addition, certain existing schemes cannot undertake auto-enrolment. The Department of Work and Pensions uses a three-tier test and as long as the employer can meet one of the three tiers, the employer will be able to certify they meet the requirements. The three tiers are:

• Tier 1 – 9% of pensionable earnings (including 4% employer) where no reference to overtime or bonus is needed – i.e. base salary only
• Tier 2 – 8% of pensionable earnings (including 3% from the employer) providing pensionable earnings constitute at least 85% of total earnings
• Tier 3 – 7% of total earnings (including 3% employer), where 100% of earnings must be pensionable

You may decide to close your current scheme, however, before you do, you must check the contractual rights of your employees and go through a consultation process with them.

Holden & Partners can assist you in establishing a scheme (if you are a new company) that meets the requirements, or adapt your current arrangement to ensure it remains appropriate and suitable for your employees.

My wife and I really value the advice and support we’ve received over many years. Our key contact is Tim Cosway, whose friendly and calm manner is a real plus. He also involves team members who are equally committed. We particularly value that their approach is that no question is stupid – we always receive a clear and helpful explanation. We have full confidence in the team’s management of our finances and definitely recommend them.


We have consulted Holden and Partners for 10 years.  Having been in financial disarray because of poor advice from our previous financial advisor, we have Tim Cosway to thank for digging us out of a deep financial hole.  As a result of his painstaking tenacity pursuing a claim against our former financial advisor through the Financial Ombudsman Service, which resulted in substantial compensation, we can anticipate a comfortable retirement.  We continue to take Tim’s advice on all financial matters.  He is a pleasure to deal with, and we whole heartedly recommend Holden and Partners, and Tim in particular.

Mike & Jacque

I have been a customer of Holden & Partners since its inception. During this time, no matter what the state of the financial climate, I have always found that their advice has been balanced and fair. They have a good understanding of everyone’s individual circumstances and produced tailored strategies to match these needs and expectations.

Duncan B, NHS consultant

I’ve always received high quality, personable advice at a time of my convenience. My adviser has often travelled to my home in order to provide very personal service. The advice given is clear and unambiguous. The risks of different types of investment have been clearly discussed to allow me to make an appropriate decision on the nature of my investment portfolio. This has been of great importance when considering the available investment options for my forthcoming retirement. I have always considered that Holden & Partners is very client centred and they have my best interests at heart. I have been with Holden & Partners since 1996 and have recommended them to friends and colleagues on many occasions.

Michael, Surgeon

Holden & Partners manage our company pension scheme with a totally professional and dedicated approach. They have worked with us over a number of years, and are able to explain the potential ‘minefield’ that is pensions, to make it perfectly accessible for the staff.

Jeremy, Print Management Partner

On retirement after 40 years of salaried employment, I interviewed several financial advisers, amongst whom Mark Dodd of Holden & Partners was the nicest and seemingly the most understanding of my investment needs and priorities. Since then my wife and I have had regular (c.6-monthly) meetings with him in order to check and, when necessary, adjust the holdings in our portfolio. This has been very helpful and provided a comforting sense of confidence and security. I have recommended Holden & Partners to others and will certainly continue to do so.

Patrick, retired university professor

It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of global trends such as climate change and environmental destruction. But I feel I regain power as a consumer and a citizen by thinking about where I spend my money and to whom I entrust my savings. I chose Holden and Partners because they were recommended to me and because of their strong track record in ethical investments. It has proven to be a wise choice. Their advisors listened carefully to my needs and created an investment strategy and portfolio that has met and indeed continues to exceed my expectations. The culture of a company also matters to me, I have found their advisors to be well informed and financially shrewd but also easy to speak to and engage with. Many of us find it difficult to trust institutions and organisations these days, but I do trust Holden and Partners to make the right decisions on my behalf.
I would have no hesitation in recommending them to others.

Patrick, Advertising and Marketing Consultant

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Whether it’s a question about your personal finances or how you can invest your wealth more ethically, we are here to help. Call us on 020 7812 1460, email or complete the form: