Corporate

Bellpenny has a team of experienced employee benefit and corporate financial planning specialists, working across the UK from Bellpenny’s regional offices. Bellpenny Corporate delivers financial planning to help firms create and retain wealth, and attract and motivate high calibre employees, to ensure that we can offer the broadest range and highest standards of advice.

"One of the vital ingredients for a successful business is good financial planning. It impacts every aspect of your firm’s activities, whatever your size, market or objectives. This is why Bellpenny has a division soley dedicated to advising businesses and their owners, otherwise known as Bellpenny Corporate.

Our knowledge and experience counts, and with over 1,000 clients we bring together a practical understanding of employee benefits, tax planning, employment legislation, business protection strategies and investments across a broad range of business models and market sectors.

Previously, smaller companies sought advice from local IFAs, more typically general practitioners who had a broader rather than deeper knowledge of the subject. For example, if we look at the issues arising with auto enrolment, it is no longer enough to know the basic princples of pension plans. To set up and operate a qualifying pension scheme one needs to understand payroll systems, employment law, investment processes and, with recent guidance from The Pensions Regulator, scheme governance. Whether you would like us to help you create a plan to transform your business, or if you have a specific financial need that you want implemented professionally and cost effectively, the Bellpenny Corporate team can help you."

author

David Brunning

Corporate Regional Manager

We can help your business create and maintain a cost effective, flexible employee benefit programme, reflecting your budget and the needs of your employees. This may include pension schemes and group protection arrangements (life assurance, income protection, private medical insurance etc.), but it increasingly includes childcare vouchers and cycle to work schemes, a gym membership, hospital cash plans and local / bespoke arrangements. Supported by experienced administrators, we aim to minimise your management time in running the employee benefits, leaving you free to concentrate on your core business activities.

Pensions 

Helping employees plan for their retirement is usually seen as a key employee benefit, and has historically been part of a firm’s competitive advantage when looking to recruit. Within the next three years all employers will have to enrol employees into their pension scheme, and so simply having a pension scheme is no longer enough. Bellpenny Corporate can review your pension scheme, including charges, contributions, investments, member communication and governance to ensure that you offer a competitively priced, attractive scheme which your employees understand and value.

Protection 

Bellpenny Corporate can use it’s market leading size and experience to negotiate excellent terms for group protection arrangements. Life assurance is a valued and often inexpensive addition to the benefits offered to employees. Writing it on a group basis minimises underwriting, and it can be tailored to offer differing levels of benefits across the business, perhaps reflecting and rewarding seniority, service etc. Income protection, (also known as Permanent Health Insurance or Long Term Disability) is a key benefit for both employees and employers. A properly structured income protection arrangement can help manage and control long term absence costs and support employees during sickness and disability. Good schemes offer early intervention and support for employees to speed recovery and return to work. These can be supported by the Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP) offering employees access to confidential counselling and support, which can provide your business with vital benefits, including reducing the number of avoidable absences and maximising employee wellbeing.

Private Medical Insurance 

Medical insurance is perhaps one of the most widely valued employee benefits. The key to making this benefit attractive and affordable is understanding what employees will value, establishing the right level of protection for the right employees, and negotiating the best possible terms. Bellpenny Corporate has established links with one of the market leading medical insurers, and an independent medical insurance broker, to make sure that whether a client has a scheme in place that needs to be reviewed, or are in need of a new scheme, we can deliver the best solution.

The Workplace Pension Reform legislation means that all employers across the UK will have to enrol employees into a qualifying pension scheme. Starting in 2012, some businesses have reviewed and overhauled their existing arrangements while for many smaller employers it has been their first experience of pensions. Bellpenny Corporate has developed considerable experience in helping employers through this process; assessing their needs and budget, minimising costs, creating efficient solutions to minimise the management time and implementing attractive schemes for employees.

Pension Governance

With auto enrolment firmly under way, The Pensions Regulator is increasingly looking at the outcomes for employees. It is now essential for those responsible for operating a pension scheme (trustees or the employer) to design and continue to operate a pension scheme to ensure a positive outcome for its members. Bellpenny Corporate can design and support pension schemes that meet the following principles (below), creating a compliant scheme for the employer and a good outcome for employees. The Pensions Regulator’s six principles for good design and governance of workplace DC schemes are as follows:

Principle 1

Schemes are designed to be durable, fair and deliver good outcomes for members.

This principle covers the features necessary in a scheme to deliver good outcomes for members, including features such as the provision of a suitable default fund, transparent costs and charges, protected assets and sufficient protection for members against loss of their savings.

Principle 2

A comprehensive scheme governance framework is established at set-up, with clear accountabilities and responsibilities agreed and made transparent.

This includes identifying key activities which need to be carried out, and ensuring each of the activities has an ‘owner’ who has the necessary resources to carry out the activity.

Principle 3

Those who are accountable for scheme decisions and activity understand their duties and are fit and proper to carry them out.

This principle ensures that those who are given accountability or responsibility for a key governance task are able to carry this out. The principle will cover definitions of fitness and propriety for accountable parties and also conflicts of interest that may arise.

Principle 4

Schemes benefit from effective governance and monitoring through their full lifecycle.

This principle looks at the ongoing governance and running of the scheme, including the internal controls and monitoring needed to ensure that the scheme continues to meet its objectives, and continues to be run with the best interests of its membership in mind.

Principle 5

Schemes are well-administered with timely, accurate and comprehensive processes and records.

This principle is informed by our previous work on record keeping, looking specifically at the administration processes required in a DC scheme.

Principle 6

Communication to members is designed and delivered to ensure members are able to make informed decisions about their retirement savings.

This includes all communications to members during their time with the scheme – from joining through to making decisions about converting their pension pot into a retirement income, including promotion of the Open Market Option.

 

Principles 1-3 are all relevant at scheme set up and therefore are most relevant to product and service providers and those advising employers on scheme selection. Principles 4 - 6 cover those activities which are likely to remain relevant through the life of a scheme and therefore could involve all parties included in scheme provision, including providers, administrators, trustees, employers and even members.

The regulator believes that if schemes follow these principles in their design, set-up and ongoing operations it will help them to deliver the six elements necessary for members to receive good outcomes, which we have previously identified:

  • Appropriate decisions with regards pension contributions
  • Appropriate investment decisions
  • Efficient and effective administration of DC schemes
  • Protection of scheme assets
  • Value for money
  • Appropriate decisions on converting pension savings into a retirement income

Using Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPP) and Small Self-Administered Schemes (SSAS), Bellpenny Corporate can work with business owners to create bespoke pension solutions. These offer a far wider range of investment options than conventional pensions allowing members to create wide ranging investment portfolios, including directly held equities, cash deposits, commodities and collective investments (unit and investment trusts).

However, one of the most attractive features is the ability to invest in commercial property. Bellpenny Corporate can advise you on the tax and investment advantages of these types of pension arrangements, including how you could use the pension fund to invest in commercial property; perhaps the premises your business operates from, which you could buy through your pension and lease back to the business. The opportunities surrounding tax planning are attractive, and we would work with your tax advisers to ensure the most efficient structure is put in place.

Just as your business will look for opportunities to increase profits and take steps to exploit them, it is essential to make sure that it identifies potential threats and puts in place measures to protect itself. Bellpenny Corporate can help you identify threats to your business stability and profitability and advise you on measures you can take to protect the business.

Key personnel

Who in your business is vital to profit? It could be members of the management team, but equally it could be a technical specialist, or a member of the sales or client relationship team. What would happen to your profits if they suffered long term ill-health or died? The first steps are to identify these key employees and look at long term solutions – perhaps training up others to step in should the need arise, diluting the risk.

However, in the short term while you are managing the risk you could protect the company’s profits by insuring individuals. Bellpenny Corporate can help you identify these individuals, the impact on operations and profit their absence could cause, and how to protect the company in a cost and tax efficient manner.

Business owners

What happens to the ownership and control of your business if one of the owners dies or suffers severe ill-health? Do you have a Shareholder or Partnership Agreement to smoothly transfer ownership? Will the owner and their dependents / beneficiaries receive the full value of their share of the business? Can the surviving owners afford to buy out their former business partner?

Bellpenny Corporate can help you identify and quantify the issues, discuss and agree a transition strategy that suits all of the business owners, liaising with your legal advisers to create Shareholder and Partnership agreements if they do not exist, and then put in place a cost effective structure to help fund the transition and release the appropriate values to the owner, their family or beneficiaries in the most tax-efficient manner.