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Pensions dashboard gets full government backing

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Pensions Minister Guy Opperman has confirmed government backing for the pensions industry’s development of a pensions dashboard to help investors keep track of their retirement savings.

The dashboard will now be run by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) rather than the Treasury. The dashboard has been designed to help people keep all their retirement information in one place. The government had come under fire for being slow to implement the dashboard. The Association of British Insurers had called for urgent legislation to ensure pension providers and schemes make their data available for pensions dashboards.

On average, people have 11 different employers over their lifetime, and may have a pension from each of them. Estimates suggest that as much as £400m may be sitting in unclaimed pensions.

Tom McPhail, head of policy at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “There is strong support for this initiative, which will help connect savers with their pension investments and ensure they can plan their retirement with confidence.

“The priority for the pensions industry is to build widespread coverage of the dashboard, encouraging as many firms as possible to participate. The government’s commitment, with the planned inclusion of state pension benefits will help to develop this coverage.”

McPhail said that Hargreaves Lansdown is committed to participating in the dashboard project and would continue to press the government to legislate for mandatory participation at the earliest possible opportunity. However, the complexities of the dashboard and the pressures of Brexit make early legislation unlikely.

He added: “With the dashboard not expected to be with us until 2019, anyone who currently has multiple pensions should take the time to get an up-to-date valuation for each, delaying your planning even for a couple of years can put a dent in your retirement income. Often people are surprised quite how much the company pension they had from a long-forgotten employer is worth.”

Chris Knight, managing director, Legal & General Retail Retirement, said:Understanding the various options available to fund retirement is already a key challenge for consumers, let alone the need to identify the different pension pots they may have saved into over the course of their careers.

“A central, digital dashboard that provides consumers with all the information they need about their various pension funds is therefore to be welcomed. This model would provide consumers with access to a complete overview of all their pension income, which will help them to identify their total expected retirement income and better plan how they can fund later life. However, for the dashboard to be of real value to consumers, it would need the support of all pension providers.”

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