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Pension Dashboard will go ahead

5 September 2018

In a Commons statement Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVeyhas said the government will be backing the industry to deliver a Pensions Dashboard. 

The statement said the industry-led dashboard would be “facilitated” by government, harnessing “the best of industry innovation” and that Government would ensure “that the interests of pension holders are safeguarded and personal information is protected, legislating to do so where necessary”.

McVey said: “The pensions landscape is transforming and the dashboard offers a great opportunity to give people straightforward access to their pension information in a clear and simple format – bringing together an individual’s savings in a single place online.

“It’s clear there is broad support for the concept of a dashboard and its potential to empower those putting money away for their futures.

“By taking a leading role, and harnessing their knowledge, industry can develop a dashboard that works for pensions holders – and government will help facilitate this.”

The statement issued by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) went on to say that the Government already provides the means for people to obtain details of their existing and future pensions via the ‘Check Your State Pension’ service, which has provided around 10 million online forecasts since 2016. DWP also runs the Pension Tracing Service to help people more easily and quickly locate their lost pension savings.

This may suggest that the Government is not intending to integrate the State Pension into any industry delivered dashboard. A similar IT project, the Government’s roll out of universal credit has hit teething problems which may also be a factor in Government not wanting to commit resource to integrating State Pension into the Dashboard.

Details of what the Government is proposing will not be known until the DWP’s Feasibility Study into the Dashboard is published. Originally this was to be in March but it has been pushed back several times and is now expected “later in the year”.

Industry reaction

Anthony Rafferty, managing director of Origo, the fintech which developed the pension request search engine for the Dashboard prototype which it recently tested to 15 million users, said without the Feasibility Study the announcement was a holding statement “and reflects the fact that there is much for Government to consider in terms of the delivery of the live project.”

He said: “The Pensions Dashboard has the potential to help tens of millions of the UK’s pension holders and savers in the years ahead. It has always been envisaged that industry would need to take on board the operation of the Dashboard, with Government ‘facilitating’ in respect of governance and legislation.

“Origo is fully committed to getting the Pensions Dashboard live for consumers” and “together with other industry members and fintech partners, has put in place the technology to deliver the Dashboard.”

Kate Smith, head of Pensions at Aegon said the point of the Pensions Dashboard was to enable people to see all their pensions online in one place.

“Government needs to facilitate this by legislating to compel all schemes and the State to provide pension detail when asked to do so. Without this the pension dashboard risks being half-baked.”

She added that Aegon remained “cautiously optimistic” that government support continues but the publication of the feasibility study “is key to the industry being able to move forward with developing the dashboard initiative”.

Jon Greer, head of retirement policy at Quilter, added that the statement was “vague” but it was needed at this point to give the public “some confidence” that the project would go ahead.

However, he added that a “half-baked” dashboard would be no good and required Government to ensure that “all relevant” pension information, including State Pension and  public sector pensions could be accessed via the Dashboard.

The other pre-requisite, he said was that all pensions would be accessible. “It remains unclear whether government will legislate to force providers to share their data and some providers may not see it as a priority, meaning the goal of portraying people’s full pension savings will remain a dream rather than reality.”

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