AJ Bell senior analyst Tom Selby explains the latest developments
Thursday 06 Jun 2019 Author: Tom Selby

For a while I read a lot about pensions dashboards and how they were going to make my life easier. I have had 10 employers during my career and saved in a pension with most of them (a mixture of defined benefit and defined contribution).

I’m now 63 and starting to think about winding down to retirement. How much longer will I have to wait to track down all my lost pension pots?

Ruth


Tom Selby, AJ Bell – Senior Analyst says:

The pensions dashboards project first kicked-off in 2016 with the aim of creating a free online service – or multiple online services – which can show you all your retirement pots in one place. Under the original plans it was hoped dashboards would be operational in 2019.

Although the Government still intends to launch something this year via the Money and Pensions Service (MAPS), the tight timescales involved mean the initial version is likely to be very limited indeed.

Policymakers have already said it could take three to four years to get dashboards fully operational, in part because it will cost schemes time and money to get their data ready. And with Brexit dominating Parliamentary time it’s not clear when they will be able to write the rules needed to force all schemes to take part.

So lots of uncertainty already, and that’s before we even mention the prospect of a general election.

Not only will the dashboard scheduled to be available this year have extremely restricted coverage, it will also be tested on a limited number of people. In short, I wouldn’t wait around for this initiative to get your affairs in order because you might be waiting a while.

There are other steps you can take to deal with this common retirement headache, although a bit of research and legwork will be required.

Write out a list of all your former employers where you may have built up pensions, either through guaranteed defined benefit schemes or defined contribution schemes such as personal pensions and SIPPs. You should then contact each of them to find details of any pension arrangements you may have had during your
time there.

If you aren’t sure who to contact at your former employers then don’t fear as the Pensions Tracing Service is a handy tool to help you
with this process. The easiest way to access it is online via this link

Alternatively you can call free on 0800 731 0176, or write to: The Pension Service 9, Mail Handling Site A, Wolverhampton, WV98 1LU.

Once you’ve located your pensions you will be in a better position to decide whether you want to combine some or all of them with one provider to make them easier to manage (although this won’t be possible with any defined benefit plans).

You should also get a firm handle on your state pension entitlements – the Money Advice Service calculator is a good place to start.

Armed with this information you’ll be in a good position to build a sustainable retirement income plan.

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