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Government contemplates ‘pooling’ small pension pots

The government is considering a “pooling” mechanism for smaller pension pots, in a bid to get a better annuity deal for consumers.

Speaking at a House of Lords debate on small pension funds on Tuesday, Conservative Peer Lord John Patten called on policymakers to explore whether such a system should be created for the pensions industry. This would involve the combining of 1.1 million pension accounts with £5,000 or less in them.

Explaining further Patten said: “It may be possible for those in the market to think of setting up a vehicle which would help, by pooling resources, to get a better deal for pensions, strictly regulated though it should be.

“Therefore I would like to put before your Lordships and, indeed, before my noble friend the minister, an idea which I hope the Government will not stand in the way of: someone trying to set up such a body whereby the purchasing power of small pension holders could be pooled and used to their advantage.”

Responding for the government, Baroness Tina Stowell said: “The Government welcome innovations to the industry that meet the needs of consumers, so my noble friend’s idea [of pooling small pension pots] is one that we would certainly want to consider further.”

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has also recently outlined plans for a ‘pot follows member’ scheme, which will see pension pots follow employees when they change jobs.

The Minister for Pensions, Steve Webb, argued that “a system where people build up worthwhile pension pots in one place rather than having lots of small pots all over the place” is needed.

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