Conflicting views on Pensions Dashboard
9 July 2018
Currently, there are discrepancies in some areas between Government and industry views of what the Pensions Dashboard should look like and how it should operate.
The Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) recently published its response to the Work and Pensions Select Committee report on the Pension Freedoms. Within the Select Committee’s report were recommendations around the Pensions Dashboard.
The first was that “the Government introduces a single pensions dashboard, hosted by the forthcoming new single financial guidance body, funded by the industry levy and in place by April 2019.”
The second was that “Government mandate all pension providers to provide necessary information to the Pensions Dashboard.” It made a concession to smaller legacy DB schemes, which it said should be given “sufficient time to comply”, phasing them in via an implementation timetable. “This should ensure that at least 80% of all DB pensions are visible on the dashboard by April 2019, with the remainder to follow.”
In its response the DWP said its research had shown consumers might be confused by multiple dashboards. Also, consumers were “wary of being sold to or having their data misused, and expressed a preference for government involvement in a dashboard.”
However, it conceded that as trust lay at the heart of consumer use the dashboard, “some people might trust a dashboard service if it were offered by their own bank.”
In respect of making participation mandatory, the Government said it agreed with the Committee’s view “on phasing in scheme participation to enable, for example, smaller legacy DB schemes sufficient time to get their data in order” and that “user research and international evidence present a strong case for comprehensive coverage and compulsion.”
The Government said it would defer any final decisions until the DWP had published its feasibility study, which was due to in the Spring and is now expected by end of July.
Contrary to the Select Committee, the industry is in favour of a multiple dashboard approach, reflected in the comment from Steven Cameron, pensions director at Aegon. He says:“While the Select Committee favours a single dashboard, we believe this would directly conflict with the need to allow the industry to engage creatively with customers.”
Industry FinTech Origo, which has been involved in the Dashboard project from inception and was one of the developers of the prototype demonstrated to the industry in April 2017, says the underlying technology is agnostic as to whether the dashboard is single or multiple.
Anthony Rafferty, managing director of Origo, says its own analysis shows that up to 15 million people could want to access the dashboard when launched. “They will want to do so in a way that is easy and intuitive as well as being safe and secure.
“Origo fully agrees with DWP’s assertion that trust and the interests of consumers must be at the heart of a Pensions Dashboard
“Providing access to pensions data via trusted brands is the model clearly preferred by industry. Industry believes this would encourage the greatest level of adoption, behavioural changes and ongoing engagement to ensure that people take more responsibility for their own retirement.
“Armed with suitable education, knowledge of accrued pensions and a few nudges, people will engage – especially if we make it easy to do so via the existing channels that they use on a daily basis.”
“Therefore, it is essential that the underlying technology can not only deal with that volume of demand but be able to deliver and maintain the service and data in a way that is secure, robust and scalable.”
Turning to the second of the Select Committee recommendations, regarding mandatory inclusion of providers, Rafferty adds:
“We are pleased that DWP has recognised the need for compulsion to achieve comprehensive coverage but also recognises the need for a phased approach for smaller, legacy DB schemes to give them sufficient time to get their data in order.”
“We are highly confident the technology is ready to support 15 million consumers and on-board the industry. Launching in 2019 is still achievable with a co-ordinated industry approach and pension provider commitment.”
Where there is less certainty, Origo says, is around citizen identity.
Origo’s chief architect, Kenneth May comments: “As we await the outcomes of the Feasibility Study from DWP, it is good to see that Government thinking is becoming much more concrete in certain areas.
“However, one area that is less certain is the vital issue of citizen identity. In order to give people access to their pensions data, we first need to know who they are – and we need to be able to know that with confidence.
“Origo has previously demonstrated how digital identities which have been certified against Government standards can be used to release attributes from public and private sector sources. We eagerly await a Government decision on the use of a suitable digital identity scheme that aligns to these Government standards.
“This is at the heart of how the Pensions Dashboard will be delivered to consumers and is critical to the success of the project as a whole.”
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