When you change employers, it’s not just a new job you’ll be getting – you may also be enrolled into a new workplace pension.
It’s estimated that the average worker will build up 11 different pension pots over the course of their career, and keeping track of them all can be difficult. As a result, around £26.6 billion is sat in ‘lost’ pensions across the UK, according to the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) and the Association of British Insurers (ABI).
But a solution is on the horizon: the ‘pensions dashboard’ has been proposed as a one-stop shop for all your retirement information, aiming to enable millions of workers to view all their pension pots in one place online. However, the project has been delayed since 2019.
Here, Which? explains how pensions dashboards will work and when you can expect to use them.
1. Pension schemes will join in three waves
There are currently around 32,000 pension schemes in the UK, and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) says it ‘would not be realistic to have all of them brought onto the dashboard from the outset’, so the process will be staggered.
Although there is no confirmed launch date for the dashboards, schemes will come on board in three waves.
Large schemes will jump on between August 2023 and September 2024, medium schemes between October 2024 and October 2025 and the smallest schemes expected to come on board from 2026.
To ensure that all schemes have a reasonable chance of being able to comply with their connection duties, there may be some ‘limited flexibility’ to defer a deadline for up to 12 months.
But it’s not yet been confirmed when they’ll be available to use by the public – though it’s estimated to be in the autumn/winter of 2024. One thing we do know is that providers will be given six months’ notice by the government before they go live to the public.
2. Your state pension will be included
A former consultation on pension dashboards run by the DWP confirmed that people will be able to view their state pension from day one. This is something that Which? has called for when previously consulted on pensions dashboards.
It would include the date you turn eligible for the state pension, the forecasted state pension amount and the estimated amount based on their National Insurance record.
The government said specific messaging would be presented on the dashboard to make clear the state pension forecasts are based on the current law and current circumstances – which could change in the future.
3. Pension dashboards will be regulated by the FCA
Eventually, there could be multiple dashboards developed and hosted by different organisations.
The Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) was established by the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) in 2019 to deliver the digital architecture that will enable dashboards to work.
MaPS will develop and host its own dashboard, but for other operators they will need to become a Qualifying Pensions Dashboard Service (QPDS).
A QPDS will need to meet certain requirements and must get authorisation and be regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
MaPS will be in charge of setting detailed standards and if it notifies the FCA that a dashboard is no longer complying with these, the FCA can de-authorise the provider.
The FCA will aim to publish its finalised rules this summer and will open the authorisations gateway shortly after so that firms wanting to create a dashboard can apply for FCA authorisation.
4. Advisers will be able to access clients’ dashboards
The government has proposed that MaPS guidance specialists, regulated financial advisers and those considered by MaPS to be appropriate, will be given access to their clients’ dashboards.
However, only those with permission will be granted access and savers will be able to remove advisers from seeing their dashboard at any time.
5. Schemes will be given time to fetch pensions data
Pension schemes will be able to use information provided within the last 13 months for annual benefit statements rather than ‘live’ data.
If a value has not been calculated or provided on a benefits statement within the last 12 months, the regulations propose they will have three days to find it. Defined benefit schemes will be given up to 10 days.
Why is a pensions dashboard needed?
The government estimates that on average, people may build up 11 different pension pots in their lifetime and it can be difficult to keep track of every one.
DWP Minister for pensions and growth, Alex Burghart, said: ‘We want people across the UK to have the support and information they need to make informed choices about their financial futures.
‘Providing a convenient place for savers to access their pension information – at the touch of a button – will help people become better informed and more engaged savers, and support them to plan more effectively for retirement.
’Seeing all the information pieced together for the first time could help people to plan for retirement and make the most of their savings.’
This article has been updated since it was first published. It was last updated on 24 January 2023, with updates on what the next steps are for the pensions dashboard.