UK workers seek simpler ways to manage multiple pension pots

Article date: 17 December 2011

  • Employees want new methods for managing complex retirement savings
  • One in two workers have multiple pension pots
  • One in two workers (58%) do not know the overall value of their small pots
  • 75% do not think they have enough to live comfortably on in retirement
  • 64% are in favour of combining their savings into one “big fat pot”
  • Aviva recommends automatic transfers between auto-enrolled schemes

Britain’s workers are struggling to manage their pensions savings because they are scattered across numerous employers in small workplace pension pots, new research* from Aviva shows.

Almost half (49%) of workers surveyed said they had multiple pots, with one in two (58%) unclear of the overall value of their pension savings, but 75% still felt they would not have enough to live comfortably in retirement.

Two in three people (67%) said it was important or very important to see all their pension savings in one place, 64% were in favour of consolidating their various pots into one "big fat pot", and of those 96% said that they would be much more likely to do this if there was a simple system in place to do it.

The research suggests that employees’ lack of clarity on their pension savings makes it harder to assess whether they are putting enough savings aside for their retirement.

Over a third (34%) said they were concerned about how they would manage their separate pots across their careers.

Pensions Minister, Steve Webb has spoken about helping workers pull their small “stranded” pension pots together, making it simpler and more cost effective for individuals and pension providers to manage. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has also indicated that it will consult on options for transferring pension pots between auto-enrolled schemes.

Of those surveyed just over half (57%) had a workplace pension, in line with the UK average, with 43% having between two and four small pension pots and 6% having five or more. On average, employees tended to stay with an employer for four and a half years.

Paul Goodwin, director of workplace pensions at Aviva said: “What’s clear from this research is that many workers in the UK are saying they want to be able to easily manage their retirement savings and to see the value of their total pension pot in one place.

“There is a constant drumbeat about people not saving for retirement, which is valid. However, when you cannot track your savings in a simple way, it’s very hard to know how much more you actually need for your retirement.

“With auto-enrolment being introduced from next year we have even more opportunity to encourage employees to actively save into a pension. However, we also need to recognise that those employees benefiting most from auto-enrolment, largely those on lower salaries, may also be left with a number of small pots.

“A simple solution for those in auto-enrolled schemes would be to allow automatic transfers between similar auto-enrolled schemes so that an employee’s pension follows them as they move jobs.”

Employees currently concerned about what to do with their disparate pensions pots should seek financial advice before they decide whether to consolidate their pots in order to assess whether it will be benefit to them to do so. Encouragingly, a total of 72% of those asked said they would seek independent financial advice before making a decision.


Methodology: * The Aviva research was conducted by OnePoll in November 2011, with 2,000 respondents.

If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact:
Fiona Robertson
Aviva Press Office: 01904 452659 / 07800 692299

Diane Mangan
Aviva Press Office: 01904 4524164 / 07800 691714

Notes to editors:

Aviva is the world’s sixth largest* insurance group. We provide 44.5 million customers with insurance, savings and investment products with total worldwide sales in 2010 of £47.1 billion**.

We are the UK’s largest insurer with over 14 million customers. Our combination of life, health and general insurance is unique in its scale and breadth in the UK market.  Customers can choose to buy our products through intermediaries, our corporate partners or from Aviva direct and we have become the partner of choice for many of the UK’s biggest organisations. 

We are ranked as one of the UK’s top 10 most valuable brands and Aviva plc are in the top 10% of socially responsible companies globally in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. In 2010 we invested £4.3 million into our communities in the UK, which included 1,500 Aviva volunteers giving 24,000 hours for good causes. In addition, our employees gave £600,000 through fundraising and donating. Read our corporate responsibility report at

Aviva is working in partnership with Railway Children through the Aviva Street to School programme to get children living or working on UK streets back into everyday life. Find out more at

The Aviva media centre at includes company information and a news release archive.

For broadcast-standard video, please visit

Follow us on twitter:

* based on gross worldwide premiums at 31 December 2010.

** at 31 December 2010.

Back to top