Government planning one-stop site for pensions

The government is drawing up plans to allow people to view their pension details online in an effort to encourage more people to...

The government is drawing up plans to allow people to view their pension details online in an effort to encourage more people to save for retirement and help plug the savings gap.

The proposed service involves the Office of the E-Envoy and the Department for Work and Pensions and is in response to a government green paper released earlier this year.

The service would use the government gateway internet portal, which draws together information on a variety of private and state pensions.

People logging on to the site would be able to view all their pension policies in one place and check how much they are expected to be worth on retirement.

The plans come amid mounting concerns that the UK is facing a multi-billion pound savings gap because people are not saving enough money for their retirement.

Last month Patricia Hewitt, secretary of state for trade and industry, said the government wanted to give everyone the chance to work until the age of 70.

A one-stop source of pension information would pose formidable IT challenges, including data aggregation and ensuring pension details are secure.

The average worker will collect various private pension schemes during their life and many financial advisers and pension providers lack the necessary technology to offer an overview of a client's investments.

Any pensions portal is likely to rely on internet data standard XML to transfer data and digital certificates and keep information secure.

The DWP has recently been in contact with life and pensions standards body Origo to gather information about its digital certificate scheme and XML data standard that allows financial advisers to get instant information on pension and bond products, according to Origo managing director, Paul Pettitt.

A spokeswoman for the DWP said plans for its online retirement planner were at an early stage and the site would need ministerial approval before a contract goes out to tender

The government gateway, which allows legacy systems in different departments to communicate and offers information on services on the internet, was launched in 2001. Microsoft supplies the underlying technology.

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