A policy paper from Royal London has criticised the goverment’s laissez-faire attitude to ensuring savers keep track of their pensions, calling on it to take a more active role in ensuring the delivery of a pensions dashboard.
The government has backed giving savers a virtual view of all their pension pots across all pension providers and schemes, known as a pension dashboard, to allow them to find any lost pots and estimate their retirement income.
But ministers have pushed responsibility for coming up with a working system for achieving this by 2019 onto the pensions industry.
Steve Webb, director of policy at Royal London, said citizens of countries such as Australia, Sweden and the Netherlands already have the benefit of access to pensions dashboards where they can see all their pensions in one place.
He said it is unacceptable that the UK is in the ‘slow lane’ and our savers are being left behind.
Mr Webb said: “Getting the many different parties involved to work together in the interests of the consumer is a big job and may even require legislation.
“Government has been too ‘hands-off’ to date and needs to drive this project forward, otherwise savers will continue to have far too little information about their overall pension position.”
In Australia, Sweden and the Netherlands, each country has provided a single place where citizens can see all or most of their pension rights in one place.
In the UK it is not clear if the dashboard will cover all of the different types of pensions which an individual might hold, particularly the state pension.
In April this year, Paul Pettitt, managing director of Origo – which has been leading efforts to unite the industry behind a single vision of a virtual pension pot – expressed concern about the Department for Work & Pension’s reluctance to confirm whether it will provide state pension data for the initiative.
Earlier this year, a conflict emerged between key players seeking to bring to market the government-backed pension dashboard, amid competing announcements over who is acting for the industry.
Technology provider Origo announced it was already building the ‘engine’ to power such a consumer portal, revealing at the end of March it had the backing of big name providers Aegon, Ageas, Aviva, Axa Wealth, Friends Life, Just Retirement, MetLife, Legal & General, Prudential, Royal London, Scottish Widows, Standard Life, Unum and Zurich.
But the move surprised some in the industry, after the Tax Incentivised Savings Association revealed earlier the same month it has its own plans to deliver a pensions dashboard ahead of the 2019 target date put forward in the Financial Advice Market Review.