Friday, 24 November 2017

    Constructing the pensions dashboard

    Some panellists at Workplace Pensions Live 2016 were optimistic that the new pensions dashboard can be delivered by 2019, though not all audience members were convinced. Designing a standardised system is necessary to provide a valuable service for scheme members, the panellists argued.

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    A pensions dashboard could prove central to providing the necessary awareness for savers to accrue enough retirement income, found participants on the panel examining how the proposed new pensions dashboard might work in practice.

    Phil Blows, account director at Wealth Wizards, said the dashboard could be a “great way to check whether people are on the right track for when they are hitting retirement”.

    This development would be important for incentivising scheme members to take action about their savings, as the majority of people have no idea how they are going to fund their retirement and 5% think they will do so by winning the lottery, he added.

    Darren Philp, director of policy and market engagement at The People’s Pension, thought the dashboard, which aims to provide a one-stop shop for individuals to view information about their pensions, particularly those invested in multiple schemes under the DC system, could be a great tool for both members and employers. For scheme sponsors, it will help to keep costs down by reducing physical paperwork and having everything digitised, he said.

    On this basis, there is a case for getting providers to fund the dashboard and other third party organisations which would benefit from its implementation, he added.

    Philp appeared confident that the pensions dashboard can be delivered by the stated 2019 deadline, claiming: “there is a coalition of the willing that’s emerging”. His fellow panellist Richard Clark, head of marketing at Origo, said the technology exists to do it, but that getting all the pension providers involved and energising them to provide the necessary information would be a challenge.

    One audience member argued “it is naïve to think there is a coalition of the willing”, while another said earlier in the day that they did not think the dashboard would be delivered on time.

    “There is political cross-regulatory buy-in for the first time”

    Philp disagreed, citing the existence of “political cross-regulatory buy-in for the first time”. Chancellor George Osborne set the deadline of 2019 in Budget 2016, and the Treasury has been conducting informal consultations with providers, he said.

    Clark raised concerns about the degree of administration involved, especially for older schemes where information is only available in paper format and for schemes that have less operational sophistication.

    But Philp thought the political will in support of the dashboard’s creation would see the “vast majority” of the work done by 2019, “a good starting point to build on”.

    Standardised design

    All participants agreed what is most important is that the design of the dashboard is standardised, to provide clarity to members and prevent any misrepresentation of information by providers. Clark thought it would not matter if there were more than one dashboard, so long as the information providers have to give is the same.

    Philp cautioned against the creation of several dashboards, arguing that for the purpose of building trust and confidence among consumers, “there is only space for one dashboard”.

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