What is the pensions dashboard?
Liz Duffy sets out the UK Government’s vision for the pensions dashboard and the story so far.
What is the pensions dashboard?
It is a free to consumer online tool which will provide individual pension savers with a view of all their pension arrangements across all schemes and providers.
This will allow individuals to find any lost or stranded pots, enable them to estimate their retirement income and establish any gap between current savings and the amount required to meet their needs in retirement.
The UK Government has made a commitment to ensure that the pensions industry designs, funds and launches the pensions dashboard by 2019. This announcement was made by George Osborne in his final Budget Statement as Chancellor of the Exchequer, on 16 March 2016.
Work commenced on the dashboard shortly before the Budget Statement and the project timeline is currently as follows:
- Jan - May 2016. Work undertaken to consider the systems architecture, define the user journey, conduct consumer research and consider communications and engagement.
- Jun - Dec 2016. Set up a project steering group and governance structure, with working groups responsible for governance and policy, prototype design and build, data standards and funding and commercial models.
- Jan 2017 – 2019. Develop the systems architecture and standards, ownership and funding framework, regulation and legal framework, product scope, user interface and design, consumer research and testing and marketing and user take-up.
- 2019. In service.
Pensions Finder Alpha white paper
On 31 May 2016, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) announced that it is best placed to take forward the work on the pensions dashboard. This followed from the work started by the Pension Finder Dashboard Alpha Project Working Group (the Working Group), formed in early 2016: the Working Group was led by the ABI and the Money Advice Service. The ABI's announcement was accompanied by an update, known as the Pensions Finder Alpha white paper, on the work done to date and proposed next steps.
The white paper covered the following areas:
The consumer journey is about how individual pension savers would access their data on the dashboard. A clear consumer preference emerged for the single destination model which would allow savers to see all their data in one consistent view and would be operated by a single organisation. This could be a new organisation set up specifically for the task or an existing consumer body.
The consumer research tested individuals’ reactions to the dashboard. The results of the research were favourable with consumers indicating they would be more inclined to actively manage their pension savings if the dashboard became available. They valued the forecasting tool but concerns with jargon were raised.
Systems architecture is the most challenging aspect of the dashboard, particularly retrieving data from pension providers and delivering it to the dashboard. The architecture needs to be able to interact with pension providers, pension schemes and government systems for state and public service pensions. A standard data format will also be required.
The Working Group highlighted the need for a decision-making body which is independent of the interests of government and individual firms to deliver the dashboard and provide ongoing services. It has considered the governance principles and what the governance model may look like.
The Working Group briefly considered several potential funding models but concluded that further work is needed in this area to understand the scale of likely costs and how to develop a self-sufficient funding model.
Legal and regulatory framework
Finally, the Working Group considered legislation, regulation and legal issues and concluded that as the pensions dashboard is an industry led project supported by the Government they would expect a steer from both the Government and regulators, where appropriate.
The next steps outlined by the ABI for taking forward by the Project Steering Group are:
- Finalising the governance framework between industry, UK Government and regulators.
- Developing a prototype dashboard to test the technology.
- Collaborating with the wider industry and Fin Tech start-ups.
Liz Duffy explores the enormous challenges likely to be encountered in the delivery of the pensions dashboard in ‘The pensions dashboard: achievable goal or pipe dream?’.