Defined Contribution  

Phoenix Life to show all savers how much is in their pension

Phoenix Life to show all savers how much is in their pension

Phoenix Life is aiming to allow all savers online access to the real time value of their pensions through its new digital service, which should be completed by next year.

According to a spokesperson at the closed book provider, the company is extending the service already available to some of its defined contribution (DC) clients to the totality of its 6.1 million customers.

Phoenix Life is developing the online service due to it being one of the early members of the pension dashboard working group, which aims to have a functioning dashboard in place for 2019, the spokesperson said.

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The plan behind the pension dashboard is to create the technology to enable savers to see all of their retirement pots in one place at the same time, giving them a greater awareness of their assets and how to plan for their retirement.

HM Treasury is in discussions with the Department for Work & Pensions to make participation in the pensions dashboard compulsory for all schemes and providers.

At the moment, Phoenix's digital services allow customers with a pension pot of £10,000 or under to be able to cash-in their pensions online.

This is done through MyPhoenix, an online portal that allows eligible policyholders to access their pension fund details without having to contact a call centre.

Customers can also “get an online indicative quote on what the highest standard Phoenix annuity would provide and download a retirement pack,” the spokesperson said.

She said: “We are working on other enhancements to deliver in 2018 but our research showed that these were the functionalities customers valued the most.”

Kusal Ariyawansa, a chartered financial planner at Manchester-based Appleton Gerrard, welcomed Phoenix's online developments.

He said: “Every time we need a statement to get policy values and to actually find out how particular funds have performed we have had extra difficulty.

"This is due to the fact that “there are so many funds which have merged, have different codes, etc.

“It would be good to actually have this (service).”.

Phoenix Life, which has £75bn in assets under management, has grown mainly through the acquisitions of books from other companies and today has a fairly complex suite of legacy products.

Nevertheless, the provider's spokesperson claimed that it has been able to almost fully digitalise the files it has taken on.

The spokesperson said: “For all of our customers, there is a computer-based record. For more than 90 per cent of customers, all of their files are held electronically.

"For a small number, some elements of their total file are held on paper.”

The provider also disclosed that it has a 12 days’ average time for pension to pension transfers through the Origo platform.

maria.espadinha@ft.com