/ Money

First pensions dashboards expected this year

With workers averaging 11 pension pots over their lifetimes, a dashboard gathering all that information into one place could be a game changer.

Update: 05/04/2019

The Department for Work and Pensions has now confirmed that the first industry dashboards are expected this year.

It’s encouraging to see the important recognition that all schemes must be included in dashboards, allowing consumers to finally see all of their pots in one place – so the Government must introduce legislation to ensure this is achieved.

We welcome the crucial commitment to including the state pension.

Dashboards won’t be complete without this vital component so it must be included at the earliest opportunity.

Every dashboard must display all the important information consumers need in a clear and accessible way, allowing them to easily understand their pension savings and the costs involved.

The delivery group has been tasked with some massive decisions that will determine the dashboards’ success – so we must see a clear commitment to delivering consumer-friendly tools within a swift timeframe.

Update: 03/12/2018

With the news that Theresa May has given her backing to new pensions dashboards which will enable people to check their future retirement finances on mobile phones and tablets, we’re welcoming steps towards achieving what could be a game-changing improvement to the way people manage their pensions.

Jenni Allen, Managing Director, Which? Money said:

Every dashboard must display all the important information consumers need in a clear and accessible way, allowing them to easily understand their pension savings and the costs involved.

It’s crucial that all schemes are included, alongside the state pension, so that savers are able to make informed decisions about their retirement savings and plan their lives accordingly.

Original Convo (01/08/2018)

The pensions dashboard would allow people to see all of their pension pots in one place. It could be a vital tool in helping people make informed decision at retirement. And it would be a game changer for the way consumers interact and engage with their pensions savings.

But worryingly, recent reports suggest that the entire project could now be at risk.

Retirement decisions can be one of the most complex decisions that we make in our lives and often the information that we most need is not readily or easily available.

We know that nearly half of those over 50 (47%) are not sure of the value of their pensions savings, and over a third of people (37%) approaching retirement find it difficult to keep track of their pension pots.

We’ve been calling on the Government to swiftly introduce a pensions dashboard to help ensure consumers are making the most of their retirement savings.

As a result of our campaigning, the government committed the pensions industry to deliver the project by 2019 with a feasibility study setting out the direction for the project expected this Summer.

However, ourselves, the pensions industry and other charities have raised serious concerns about reports that the project could be delayed or scrapped completely.

Failing to give the dashboard the greenlight would be a huge missed opportunity to really empower consumers to take control of their financial future.

Even a slight delay could mean thousands of consumers are left without adequate information about one of the most crucial decisions of their lives.

Demanding action

Successfully introducing a pensions dashboard will be vital for everyone who is saving for their retirement. We want a dashboard that is transparent, trustworthy and comprehensive and we need strong leadership from Government to help deliver it.

As more and more people are being auto-enrolled into a workplace pension, it is now more important than ever that the Government remains committed to the dashboard.

We are calling on the Government to stick to its promise and act now to ensure the pensions dashboard fulfils its potential to boost consumer engagement, transform the sector and help people make informed decisions that will guarantee a comfortable retirement.

Do you find it hard to keep track of your pension pot? Are you aware of its value? Do you agree the system is confused and requires reform?

Comments

The thought of the government getting involved in another huge project requiring reliable IT fills me with dread. They have enough problems trying to deal with Universal Credit. So their other option will be to outsource it, probably to the insurance industry.

However, I wonder why we have to have such a central register. Many people have to keep track of their other financial products (bank accounts, shares for example), so why cannot they simply add their pension products – usually no more than an insurance. As far as I know if you change a job or pension provider you will receive a notification of your entitlement; is that true? If not, past providers should be required to notify people of their entitlements. Many of these could be transferred into a single fund to simplify administration and costs Regulation would need to ensure that transfer values were fair.

We need to give people the opportunity to take responsibility for their own financial affairs and, for those who are unwilling or unable, have approved financial advisers who can do it for them.

Tony Willcox says:
2 August 2018

Malcolm,

The problem I have had is that over time, some of the Companies that I have pensions with have been taken over and /or changed provider. It is not always clear who you need to contact, not only for those changes but your own life changes – change of address is a simple example.

Chris Clark says:
2 August 2018

The vast majority of people are not as organised as you might be Malcolm. I built my own pensions dashboard in the end because I could not get a clear view. I very much call for this initiative to be completed.

I’d like to see people helped to get better organised and not expect to rely on others to do it for them, Chris. I think that may help keep more people out of financial difficulties. Beginning at school would help.

Although my pension was with a single fund and in a defined benefit scheme there were still plenty of uncertainties about retirement. I feel sorry for those who have moved between jobs and have multiple pension pots, as Genevieve has pointed out. If most of our citizens do not know the value of their pensions then that demonstrates the need for a simple way to keep track on the information.

I don’t think a complex IT system that is unlikely to work properly will provide a simple way. The simpler way surely is to give all those with pension pots the information from their providers that they keep, just as they do with their other financial products. I suspect many people already do this, and this is what I believe we should encourage, with help.You can consolidate them through a financial adviser into a SIPP if you wish.

In a country where many are living in debt thanks to poor management of their finances I support the aims of Which? in this matter.

Please could you advise the source of this claim ” With workers averaging 11 pension pots over their lifetimes,”

This suggests a much lower figure and references A source
telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs/11975788/Britons-in-the-workplace-The-figures-that-lay-bare-the-life-of-an-average-British-employee.html

I suspect that it came from this announcement:
“Minister for Pensions, Baroness Ros Altmann said:
People have had on average 11 jobs during their working life which can mean they have as many work place pensions to keep track of.” https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-pension-tracing-service-website-launched

It seems unlikely that many people will have 11 pension pots.

I’ve have worked in two universities and done various jobs including a couple of part-time ones when I was a student. All contributed to my single pension.

I can identify with that as I had 5 jobs that ultimately became just 1 pension, however I had 2 separate pensions the first of which was taken over by 4 different investment groups thus by the time I received it, this pension had been known by 5 different names. The consequence of this is that most people receiving communications from companies they have no dealings with would invariably look at the company envelope, think, I have no dealings with them and deposit the entire thing in the bin reasoning more advertising’

As I suspected it seems to be the use of US data to bolster a case and the reference originally about number of jobs not pensions. There may be official UK data I am unaware of which the Conversation author is using in which case I look forward to it being cited.

Anwyway the US data discussed here:

” The best data the Bureau of Labor Statistics has on how many jobs people hold in a lifetime is a longterm study that has followed baby boomers through most of their careers up until now. On average, people in that study held 11.7 jobs between age 18 and 48. About 27 percent of them were particularly prone to hop, holding 15 jobs or more, while 10 percent held zero to four jobs.”
edsurge.com/news/2017-07-20-how-many-times-will-people-change-jobs-the-myth-of-the-endlessly-job-hopping-millennial

Looking at the source is interesting, particularly the definition of job:
“Job
. A job is defined as an uninterrupted period of work with a particular employer. Jobs are therefore employer-based, not position-based. If a respondent indicates that he or she left a job but in a subsequent survey returned to the same job, it is counted
as a new job. For example, if an individual worked in a retail establishment during the summer, quit at the end of summer to return to school, and then resumed working for the same employer the following spring, this sequence would count as two
jobs, rather than one. For self-employed workers, each “new” job is defined by the individuals themselves. ”
bls.gov/news.release/pdf/nlsoy.pdf

I suggest that these US figures are inflated heavily by students taking vacation jobs. For most people I think returning to work at the same place as last year would be classed as a single job. As to the number of pensions I suspect that would be significantly lower than 11 and that there has been a misleading misrepresentation of the figures.

This is saddening and regrettable – perhaps the introduction could be changed.

In case you are interested in unofficial UK figures:
“04 Nov 2015
A new study which polled 2,000 adults on their work life so far, has estimated lifetime figures based on starting work at 18 and retiring at 65. Experts who examined in detail every aspect of a standard 47 years in the working world found the average worker will start on around £8,000 a year in their first job and will work for six different companies on their journey to job satisfaction. ”
telegraph.co.uk/finance/jobs/11975788/Britons-in-the-workplace-The-figures-that-lay-bare-the-life-of-an-average-British-employee.html

Hi Patrick. We’re citing this government report here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/thousands-more-make-contact-with-long-lost-funds

“The government announced last year that it was introducing a system whereby if you move job your pension pot moves too. The ‘pot follows member’ system will mean that any pots of less than £10,000 will automatically move with them.
So for these presumably there will be no need for a pensions dashboard?

The Pension Tracing Service helps individuals to find occupational and personal pensions that they have lost track of. It uses a database containing information on more than 200,000 pension schemes. The free service provides contact details of the potential scheme administrator to enable customers to make subsequent enquiries.
And anyone who might look online at a pensions dashboard could just as well track down any pension they had lost track of, and look after their own details?

So do we really need a pensions dashboard when there is already a scheme to track old ones, and the government’s pension pot moves with you (and why should not this be the case for all pensions)?

If setting up a dashboard were simple I might be more enthusiastic, but the state’s history of large software projects is poor, outsourcing is often poor and hugely profitable for the failed providers,,and, anyway, I’d favour encouraging people to stand on their own feet and look after their own finances.

George,
It does indeed say eleven JOBS and does not claim eleven pension pots which the first sentence of Conversation : ” With workers averaging 11 pension pots over their lifetimes …” does.

Essentially many short-term jobs have never accrued pension rights.

As to the dashboard :
https://pensionsdashboardproject.uk/saver/useful-links/
I think it is a useful idea as people generally are very poor at forward planning particularly financially. However if you watch the Vimeo video you will see Govt. Verify mentioned which is an enormous lame-duck and creates numerous difficulties for users. I mention that as Which? could usefully look at this and other verification providers to explain to subscribers the pitfalls. This may be important once Dashboard goes live.

Incidentally the site says there are/will be 80m pensions on the database. This is a low number given the eleven pension pots on average apparently we could have. Given the number of people currently in the workforce 32m and those who have retired it would seem the huge majority of people do not have multiple pensions.

Thanks for sharing that link Patrick.

Quote from the about section “Government, regulators, and businesses in the pensions industry are all trying to make Pensions Dashboards available online from 2019.” So hopefully only another year to go!

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I don’t recall it, Duncan. Obviously it was in a different Conversation – could you post the link [right click on the date stamp and select ‘Copy link’ then paste in the usual way]?

I didn’t.

Duncan – I have just looked back over all your submissions over the last week and I couldn’t see any on the subject of occupational pensions.

In reply to Patrick Taylor’s 11 pensions on average over the lifetime query…. I worked for the same company (at least the same address) for my whole 36 + year career. In that time,
1. I contributed to the DB scheme virtually from day 1.
2. I took a SERPS holiday for a few years in the eighties and built a pot with an opt-out investment
3. AVCs to the DB scheme formed a further pot
4. Following a management buy-out, a Stakeholder scheme was introduced – and yes I have a pot in that.
5. I have chosen to move some of my Stakeholder pot to a third party for diversity.

I can well believe job hoppers would build up many more – 11 sounds about right to me.

ps – why are you up in the middle of the night? Thought I was the only nutter around here!

Gavin Potts says:
2 August 2018

What is a pension dashboard? I’ve heard of car dashboards but never a pension dashboard.

Gavin has asked “what is a pension dashboard?”. It is an instrument panel with a number of gauges on it that show you how far you have travelled in your career, how little is left in your pension fuel tank after management fees have decimated it, how fast or slow your pension hopes are running away from reality, and how much time is left before you will reach your destination. It might also have a navigation system to help you avoid some obstacles on the road ahead. There is probably also a glove compartment for when your hands get sweaty and some tissues for when your eyes are full of tears.

All I can say this present government can’t do anything without a disappointing result, they live in a different world.

Jill says:
2 August 2018

I am in receipt of 4 different pensions and have female friends who don’t know whether or not they were entitled to a workplace pension from places they have worked, especially if they have had several jobs, companies being taken over, going bust etc. A pensions dashboard sounds like an excellent idea. Am I the only female commenting here!!

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I wasn’t aware that the government had planned one, but surely it will help most of us know and track our pensions and give us more control with one pane of view and if they do it properly, save us filing bits of statements received as these disparate pensions could be all in one place. I think I have 5 or 6 pension pots. However, the highest level of cybersecurity needs to be in place (criminals will always follow the money…). I agree with Jill that more females need to voice their opinions.

Personally, I would be highly suspicious of what the ulterior motve of government is!

Likewise, I find it very suspicious that the dashboard will be in jeopardy.

Simonne15 says:
2 August 2018

Maybe this is their next project.
The government is struggling….ahhh….. to find what else they can deconstruct, having wrecked most of this society’s infrastructure virtually irretrievably. Its clear from the House of Commons voting ‘deal’ debacle recently, with the Chief Whip and Party Chair ignoring trusted agreements, that there’s no corporate integrity amongst them and certainly no care for the populus.

Paul Shepperd says:
2 August 2018

Lost out with Equitable Life- Married 40+ years to the best ‘WASPI’ woman. Advice from MP as useful as a chocolate teapot. A plague on all politicians and their houses. Roll on constituency changes and the ‘loss’ of 50 seats.
Sadly no politicians are to be trusted. While I find it hard to accept the views of either Dennis Skinner or Jacob Rees-Mogg they are at least consistent in the views they hold. With others Jump and How High comes to mind!

MDM says:
2 August 2018

I agree entirely with the last two posts
Any dashboard endorsed by this government, given its commitment to the rolling back of the role of the State will be given to the finance sector to “regulate”. In others words it would be privatized, or maybe given to the Financial Ombudsman’s office which of course is another form of self regulation as it is financed by the industry. It’s independence in safeguarding the public would therefore be questionable

No dashboard,it’s obvious what the government will do,fiddle us out of pocket when you get to claim your pension and make out you haven’t as much as you expected,DO NOT TRUST THEM THEY WILL STEAL YOUR MONEY

RBJ says:
2 August 2018

For the majority of people who have a chequered employment history the chance to check all your pension contributions is an absolute must. Pension schemes need to be transparent!!

So surprise, surprise, no one trusts the government and with good reason: The political kudos comes with making the announcement whilst actually delivering it is a real pain in the ****, which requires time, money & commitment. And would you believe they are fresh out of all three of those, mired as they are in the BOG of BREXIT.

So here’s a suggestion to CA – stop talking about it and get on with it.
OK its not your job, so make it your job.
You have got the IT skills and I am pretty sure you would make a MUCH better job than the government.
OK it needs funding, so how about you set up a basic system to which those who at least know what their various pension pots are can input the data and have it displayed in the dashboard in one place.

Then you can invite all the pension providers to provide searchable links to their individual pension data bases. Funding to come from the fees paid by those pension providers.

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I haven’t seen any indication from the pensions and insurance industry that they welcome a pensions dashboard.

The Association of British Insurers seems to have played the major part in doing the donkey work for the government:

The ABI has project-managed the prototype stage of the pensions dashboard for HM Treasury and on behalf of the wider industry, but it does not make decisions about government policy on the pensions dashboard or on how regulation will work. The ABI is ready to contribute ideas and take part in consultations as these important decisions are made by the appropriate bodies. The priority is to put a framework in place which provides the best possible service to consumers.

https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/lts-public/issues-in-long-term-savings/the-pensions-dashboard/

Thank you, Malcolm. That’s a craftily-worded statement from the ABI – hardly a ringing endorsement of the scheme. In other words – the government has come up with this notion and to avoid it becoming a catastrophe that will be blamed on our members we had better assemble something that will hold it all together and keep the rain off our backs.

I prefer the suggestion that it was the consumer movement in one guise or another that said there was a need for a pensions dashboard, or perhaps it was a light-bulb moment from the government that thought it would be a snap answer to some of the industrial and commercial problems that had occurred on their watch. They obviously had no idea how complex and costly such a project would be. Smart meters spring to mind.

As the ABI points out, most of the work involved is in checking with the many thousands of pension providers, some old pensions still apparently being on paper, to find what an individual is due. I thought its assessment of the situation was fair, and the point it made about regulation and data protection.

It gives links to help individuals check what pensions they might be due, whether state or private:“There is already an online service https://www.gov.uk/check-state-pension you can use to find out what your State Pension is likely to be when you retire. All the firms and schemes you have pensions with should provide you with information about your funds on request. Providers will also send you annual statements. It’s important to keep your personal details up-to-date with all your pension providers, for example if you move house.

If you think you may have lost track of a pension, the ABI provides an online Register of Consolidations here https://www.abi.org.uk/data-and-resources/tools-and-resources/register-of-consolidations/, which can help you find out which company is now responsible for pension schemes which have been transferred to different firms. The Government also provides a pension tracing service which is online here https://www.gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details.

@awhittle, Alex, if Which? don’t provide these links it would be useful to publish them.

Ken Rich says:
2 August 2018

If we have five different jobs and five different pensions, surely it is our responsibility to keep aware of the details of the schemes, not the Government,
Join and evening class and learn how to use a computer!

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Richard Lea says:
2 August 2018

In an ideal society, how much anyone has managed to put into a pension pot would be easily accessible at any time, straightforward and easy to do.
So, why can’t the Government order it to be so?
Lack of interest and no personal pressure because ministers have access to this information about themselves anyway.

Will someone please raise a petition to this effect, please?

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You could start a petition, Richard:
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/new