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UK Pensions Dashboard – Coming in 2019

The new UK Pensions Dashboard will be unveiled in 2019 – but State Pension data will not be available at first.

What is the Pension Dashboard?

The Pension Dashboard will show Brits (expats too!) an overview of all their pension savings in one place; a complete picture of your retirement funds. This is great news if you really want to get a handle on your retirement planning. The UK Government made a commitment during the 2016 budget to collaborate with the pensions industry to deliver the Pension Dashboard. The purpose of the Pensions Dashboard is quite simple. There is an estimated £400 million in unclaimed pensions in the UK. That’s a lot of money going spare. But it’s perhaps not surprising when you consider how many jobs a Brit may move through over the course of their career. It is estimated that the average adult in the UK will have 11 different jobs during their working life. That means they may have workplace pension savings in up to 11 different pots -as well as any private pensions and their state pension on top. Keeping track of these pensions can prove challenging to even the most organised of people! The Department of Work and Pensions has found that 1 in 3 of us find it hard to keep track of pensions. Consider also if you’ve moved house, or left the country to work abroad. It’s easy to overlook contacting all of your pension providers to update your details and even easier to lose track of everything you’ve accumulated in different pots over the years. It can leave you with very little idea at the end of your working life as to how you may go about retrieving all of these lost pots; let alone having any concept of their worth. This is why the Government has prioritised this issue as a “significant barrier to effective financial management” and developed the Pension Dashboard to solve the current crisis.

How will the Pensions Dashboard work?

The dashboard aims for simplicity of use. There will be four basic steps to how it works:
  • You will be required to log in and verify your identity, much like you do currently with gov.uk.
  • You must give your consent to share your data securely with verified pension providers and third party handlers (this is much like the process involved with digital banking).
  • All the different pensions schemes’ and providers’ databases will be searched for details that match yours.
  • The system reports back, in one easy-to-read page, all of the pension details that match yours, giving you a clear picture of what you’ve already accumulated, and an estimated value of your monthly or annual income on retirement.
It is also expected that you will be able to click on each pension listed and find out more about it: like the contact information for the pension provider, for example. Useful! The Government has been collaborating with businesses from across the pension industry aswell as regulators, and financial technology (FinTech) companies to develop the architecture to make this possible. The Pensions Dashboard website states that the “pension finder service enables secure communications between all pension providers, dashboard hosts, and industry partners who are involved with the systems,” revealing that their eyes are on the safety of your data.  

Does the Pensions Dashboard include the state pension?

Yes, it will do eventually. But not when the scheme opens in 2019. There will be a delay until state pension information becomes available: that’s the latest word this week reported widely across the press. Note that you can already access your state pension and National Insurance information online through the Government’s website. The Pension Dashboard will bring the improvement that it will collate this state pension information with all of your other pension funds to give you a comprehensive savings overview.  

I’m concerned about the safety of my data …

The dashboard will not store all of your pension information in a huge database that would act like a golden carrot to cyber-criminals. Rather it will search and retrieve information as you request it. Part of the process of developing the prototype has been agreeing data standards and the architecture needed to keep your data safe.  

I’m an expat – does this affect me?

If you’ve lived and worked in the UK and have a UK state (or private or workplace) pension, you can use the Pensions Dashboard. With so much uncertainty in the political and economic climate generated by the ongoing negotiations over Brexit, this is a particularly pertinent time for expats to pay attention to their pensions.  

When can I get started on the Pensions Dashboard?

The prototype has been developed and has proved its viability. It is hoped that 2019 will see the widespread roll out of the pensions dashboard programme, but this (say the Government) depends on the participation of all pension providers. A semi-comprehensive pensions dashboard would defeat the object. All the information needs to be available. So it can’t be finished until that’s happened.   In reality, the Pensions Dashboard is a system that is long overdue and much needed to reflect people’s working lives in the modern world – and we welcome any developments that help you keep a track of your pension and retirement savings.

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