Nearly a dozen master trusts and UK insurers are to launch an online portal detailing pension savings, as the government stands by its target of having a full pensions dashboard operational by 2019.

The voluntary collaboration aims to have a pilot version of the dashboard live by March 2017, according to Simon Kirby, economic secretary to the Treasury, who said the website would also display the state pension entitlements accrued by each worker.

Master trusts Now Pensions, The People’s Pension and the National Employment Savings Trust are among the 11 founding providers, as are consultancies Aon and Willis Towers Watson, mutual insurer Royal London, HSBC and four for-profit insurance companies.

Kirby questioned how savers’ levels of engagement with pensions would change if a pension pot’s balance were displayed when logging into a bank account, or if personalised pension forecasts were generated when using certain mobile apps.

“So that’s why we need a pensions dashboard to unleash this kind of potential,” the minister for the City of London said.

Speaking at an event hosted by Aviva, among the dashboard’s founding members, Kirby said he wanted the pensions industry to collaborate on how data should best be shared.

The minister said he hoped the whole process could be achieved through “excellent voluntary collaboration” but did not rule out a more hands-on approach by government if the industry did not unite.

“If there are difficulties getting everyone on board, then we’ll certainly look at legislation or regulation instead,” he added.

“So I would encourage everyone to start on this [discussing data] as soon as possible.”

Kirby said the website would be free of charge and that the Association of British Insurers would be overseeing its development, with the 11 organisations set to discuss details such as the governance structure operating the dashboard.

A number of European countries already have websites in place to display all of a worker’s pension saving, such as in the Netherlands and in Denmark – both successful industry-led initiatives.

Patrick Heath-Lay, chief executive of the People’s Pension, said the dashboard had the potential to drive greater efficiency within the industry.

“But it must be built first and foremost for savers and have strong, independent, ownership and governance,” he said. 

The People’s Pension, along with Now, have long backed the introduction of a dashboard, and Now chief executive Morten Nilsson noted that the rollout of auto-enrolment would see an increase in pension pots.

“Over 40 years of saving, it will be easy to lose sight of these pension pots, and a pensions dashboard will make keeping track of pension savings a less onerous task,” he said.

“A dashboard will also help savers better understand what their income is likely to be in retirement, allowing them to build a realistic savings plan for the future.”

A number of European providers, including the People’s Pension, have been working on the launch of a Europe-wide tracking service, which recently received funding from the European Commission.