Total private pension wealth in the UK has jumped to £6.1trn from £3.6trn over the last decade but blemishes in the system remain.

The latest Office for National Statistics figures reveal how savings behaviour has evolved.

The data is from the sixth edition of the Wealth and Assets Survey, which has been running since 2006.

On the positive side, it shows pension wealth is now 42 per cent of people’s total wealth, up from 34 per cent a decade earlier.

Auto-enrolment has also bumped the proportion of people with an active private pension from 43 per cent to 53 per cent since July 2010.

But the average wealth in active defined contribution workplace pensions has dropped from £11,600 (July 2010 to June 2012) to £3,300 (April 2016 to March 2018).

Also differences between generations and genders remain, while there are signs of small pension pots being left stranded in the system.

Commenting on the figures, Hargreaves Lansdown senior analyst Nathan Long says: “The number of people saving for their life after work continues to grow, but the nagging doubts remain about the after-effects of auto-enrolment.

“The average amount of money in pensions being built up is falling as more people are saving for the first time, but more worryingly there is evidence of a littering of discarded pension plans, as people are moved from pension to pension each time they change employer.

“A new government should look to grant people the right to have their employer pay into their choice of pension so people can take control of their own retirement. After all, you wouldn’t expect to switch your bank account every time you change jobs.”

Long points out the gender pension gap shows an interesting nuance as men below state pension age are slightly more likely to have an active private pension than women: 56 per cent compared with 51 per cent.

Men also have more wealth, £25,300 for the average man compared to £20,000 for a woman, yet for those over 65 average pension wealth for pensions in payment is double for men compared to women.

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