Speech

Tracking your workplace pension benefits in Ireland is a nightmare – Hayes

Hayes calls for a new pension tracking service where all workplace pension benefits can be seen in one online portal. 

Speaking at an Association of Pension Lawyers conference at the Spencer Hotel in the IFSC Dublin this morning, Brian Hayes MEP said that the government should work with the Pensions Authority and the pensions industry to develop a pension tracking service which would help people track their pension benefits as they move through their career.

“When you move from one job to another, keeping track of your workplace pension benefits can be a logistical nightmare. The problem is only going to get worse given that our workforce is becoming more mobile and people change jobs more frequently. Without a proper pension tracking service, inevitably this will result in millions of euro of lost pension benefits.

“The situation is already serious. There is up to €500 million in lost pensions, according to the Pensions Ombudsman. I am calling on the government to work with the Pensions Authority and the pensions industry to come up with a national pension tracking service which can be accessed by anyone online.

“Such a service would be able to deal with real logistical issues where workers change address or companies go through a merger or acquisition.

“We should look at best practice in other countries. For example, in Britain the government took note of the problem of lost pensions and set up a national pension plan registry which allows workers to contact one source to trace a pension.

“In the Netherlands, a pension tracking service was set up in 2011 which has an online portal where members can view their accrued pension benefits online. The EU is currently examining through a pilot project how a European Tracking Service could be developed which targets workers who have moved between European countries.

“Ireland is one of the few countries in the EU which has a well-developed workplace pension system. We are still a long way behind countries like Denmark and the Netherlands which both have workplace pension coverage of over 90%. Ireland’s workplace pension coverage is just over 30% and we need to encourage more people to take up workplace pensions. The state pension is going to come under more strain as our demographics change. Our old-age dependency ratio is set to double by 2060.”

“There is real added-value in a pension tracking service – it will make workplace pensions more attractive to employers and employees alike. It could also reduce costs as pension providers would not have to deal with many administrative problems associated with tracing pension claimants when at pension age.”

 

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