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The pension industry should run Pensions Dashboard

18 July 2018

Gareth Sawyer, managing director of Workplace Solutions, Punter Southall Aspire argues that the pension industry should run the Pensions Dashboard.

The pensions dashboard, the online project being created to help millions of people keep track of their pensions was first announced by then chancellor, George Osborne, in 2016, and will enable people to view their pension savings in one place. The project was initially led by HM Treasury and was passed on to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) last year.

According to a Times newspaper report, the project could be cancelled by Esther McVey, the welfare secretary.

An official consultation about the service, which was strongly supported by the pensions industry and charities, ended in March but ministers have since remained silent about the next steps. According to sources in the report, McVey believes the service, set to be introduced in 2019, should not be provided by the state and it would distract from the rollout of universal credit.

There is a critical need for a dashboard. Figures from the DWP estimate that 50 million pension pots will be lost by 2050 if an online hub is not created to help savers to keep track of their savings. However, I would argue that it should be the pensions industry not the government who should deliver the dashboard.

We have no idea if the speculation about the DWP scrapping the dashboard is true, but I would question if the State really is best placed to provide it. The technology to create and run a dashboard has been available for a few years and is already being used by some companies, including Punter Southall Aspire.

What has been missing to make adoption of this technology more widespread is a true willingness from all parties in the industry to work together and that is because it doesn’t necessarily sit well with the commercial objectives of some of those organisations.

We need regulation that forces all parties to comply. If this happens, we will have pension dashboards available for savers that lead to greater data aggregation, better member engagement and more information to enhance members’ understanding, leading to better financial planning and outcomes which surely is the goal.

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