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DWP publishes proposals to make Pensions Dashboards a reality from 2019

3 December 2018

The Department for Work and Pensions has published its long awaited Feasibility Study into the Pensions Dashboards, enabling the industry to start preparing for what’s necessary to make the project happen, with the first schemes onboarding in 2019.

Guy Opperman Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Pensions & Financial Inclusion said the proposed pensions dashboards would “give consumers information about their pensions savings from multiple sources through an online service”, empowering them “by the presentation of information, helping them to engage with their pensions savings” and would “support informed decisions and prepare the consumer for the transition between working age and retirement.” It would build upon “the successful introduction” of auto enrolment he added.

Opperman said FCA data showed that a quarter of people aged 55 and over who are not retired say they do not know the size of their pension savings while, eight in 10 people with a defined contribution pension have not given much thought to how much they should be paying into it to maintain a reasonable standard of living when they retire.

The document detailed the DWP’s proposals and opened up a consultation period, which will run until 28 January. The DWP said it will also be running a series of roundtables in December to help it formulate the final policy. Results of which should be known within 12 weeks of the consultation closing.

In its report, the DWP said:

  • The soon to be launched Single Financial Guidance Body (SFGB) would oversee delivery of the project, under an independent chair, bringing together industry representatives, FinTech and consumer organisations to ensure successful implementation
  • Initially, the SFGB would provide a non-commercial Dashboard but it would then be opened up to multiple commercial dashboards.
  • It will start with Mastertrusts from 2019/20, with the majority of schemes expected to onboarded by 2023.
  • Legislation will be introduced to make it compulsory for pension schemes to participate – as soon as Parliamentary time allows. SSASs and executive pension plans will be exempted.
  • State Pension data will be integrated with dashboards, when a secure framework has been devised but until then it will include a link to the DWP’s ‘Check Your Pension’ service.
  • Trust, security and confidentiality would sit at the heart of dashboards, which would be regulated to ensure “appropriate and robust controls are in place”.
  • The dashboards would use a Pension Finder Service, which, “as a matter of principle, is run on a non-profit basis and with strong governance” to relay consumer requests but would not store or aggregate data and
  • The industry will fully fund the project.
  • Consumers would be able to delegate authority to their advisers to view the information.
  • Users also will be able to revoke consent for any dashboard to access their data.

Commenting on the report, Anthony Rafferty, managing director of Origo, which developed the Pension Finder Service for the ABI prototype, said: “We are pleased that today’s report provides direction on the key topics raised by industry – compulsion through legislation, digital identity, inclusion of the State Pension and suitable governance. This will provide clarity to pension providers to allow active preparations to commence.

“Today’s report takes the industry a step further to delivering a comprehensive, simple, consolidated view of pensions for tens of millions of UK consumers for the very first time. The direction set today should be welcomed given the good it will do for all UK citizens in helping them plan for retirement, find lost pots and in helping to address the savings gap.

“In addition, we believe the Pensions Dashboard will be a foundation for innovation within the long term savings industry and will be one of the biggest catalysts to engagement the industry has ever experienced.

“Origo stands ready to work with industry and Government to progress the world-leading approach that we’ve led on since 2014.  This will deliver an innovative Open Pensions landscape where the consumer is at the heart of the solution and their privacy and consent central to the design.

“We look forward to the consumer benefits that will come from innovative services via trusted brands along with delegated authority to allow individuals to share their information with trusted entities such as their financial adviser providing the consumer with full control over what data that they share, with whom, and for how long.”

National IFA, pensions and employee benefits consultancy, LEBC Group, said it favoured a single, regulated dashboard over the multiple dashboard approach.

Kay Ingram, director of Public Policy at LEBC said: “In the interests of data security, we believe a single regulated dashboard would serve consumers better, protect them against fraud and give them greater confidence in using the Dashboard information.

“In our response to the consultation we will once more promote our ideas as to how a single dashboard could offer a safe space for consumers to access their data and thwart the criminals, who have robbed an average of £91,000 of pension savings from the unsuspecting public.”

Jon Greer, head of retirement policy at Quilter, questioned whether the SFGB would have the capacity to take on the dashboards project, adding he said, “another element to their already over flowing plate, before they have even started.”

Greer added: “Any dashboard must have robust independent governance and regulation. Dashboards may be a hotbed for scams and fraud as they will have reams of pension wealth information all in one place and it is sensible that commercial organisations’ use of dashboard information will be a regulated activity to ensure high conduct of standards.

“Depending on the success of the dashboard, its scope has potential to evolve over time. For instance if we start with dashboards that have a finder service and illustration of pension income, we can then explore how it might include guidance to how to use savings in future iterations. However, for that to be worthwhile engagement is vital. We are still in an apathetic age and another app or piece of technology can be helpful, but first we need to get the public to use them. Having multiple dashboards may help as there will be more chances for people to come across such a service and actually start using it.”

The Pensions Dashboards ecosystem

Source: DWP

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