The government has revealed its recommendations for a pension dashboard, nine months after it was due to publish the information.
The Department for Work and Pensions’ feasibility report states from 2019 we will see the first of multiple dashboards that will allow savers to access their pension information in one place online.
Having numerous commercial dashboards is thought by DWP to improve consumer choice, but there will also be a non-commercial dashboard hosted by a government financial guidance body, “offering an impartial service to those who prefer it, or who may not be targeted by the market.”
Here is a summary of the long-awaited pension dashboard details:
The dashboards will be overseen by the Single Financial Guidance Body, which replaces the Money Advice Service, the Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise. The SFGB is due to go live in January 2019.
Minister for pensions and financial inclusion Guy Opperman says: “In the absence of a clear industry lead, we propose that there is a role for the new SFGB to convene and oversee an industry delivery group to enable successful implementation.
“We believe that multiple dashboards will improve choice for consumers, allowing them to use the dashboard that most meets their needs. However, these should exist alongside a non-commercial dashboard hosted by the SFGB, offering an impartial service to those who prefer it, or who may not be targeted by the market.”
An industry-led group will design, deliver and implement the project. It will be responsible for the details of how the dashboard will function but DWP will stipulate principles which should underpin the service. These principles include security of individuals’ data.
DWP says it expects the delivery group to draw on the experience and knowledge of pension providers, financial services, financial technology, consumer organisations and regulators the FCA and The Pensions Regulator.
The state pension
At launch the pension dashboard will not include state pension pots. The report says it is the responsibility of the industry delivery group, working with government, to ensure state pension data can connect to the pension dashboard.
In the meantime a link to an existing site allowing you to check your state pension will be available.
The government says it is prepared to legally oblige pension schemes to provide data for the dashboard. Where a pension scheme does not have the capability to provide the pension data directly they can allow an integrated service provider to securely access the necessary information.
Some schemes might be exempt, such as SSAS and executive pension plans, as they are said by the DWP to have members much less likely to use a dashboard.
Part of the scope of the delivery group’s work will be to build and find a pension finder service; a single search portal for people to find pension schemes they are linked to. The portal will not show pension values or aggregate data.
In September this year DWP said the majority of funding should come from the pension industry itself. Today’s report states government funding will be limited to the costs of any new legislation that is needed and developing a system by which state pension data is available through dashboards.
As well as the governance structure of the service, the industry will need to pay for the dashboard infrastructure including the single pension finder service and identity verification, a non-commercial, consumer-focused dashboard hosted by the SFGB and new regulatory functions related to dashboards.
DWP says different funding routes will be used for different elements of the project, with industry levies being one route it will explore.
The onboarding timeframe for pension schemes will vary. The report states some pension providers and schemes are keen to participate in the pension dashboard project as soon as possible.
It notes more than a quarter of the total workplace pensions in the UK, covering 10m members, are currently with 90 different master trust schemes. DWP says: “Defined contribution schemes such as master trusts would represent a good opportunity to maximise coverage over a relatively short period of time.”
Public sector pension schemes, defined benefit and DB/DC hybrid schemes will need more time to prepare their data before participating.
The industry-led dashboard, facilitated by the SFGB, is expected to be introduced from 2019 and a phased introduction of other schemes and providers is estimated to take around three to four years.
Opperman says the dashboard project will help people make better choices: “Pensions dashboards will offer people access to their information from multiple pensions at a time of their choosing.
“In the internet age, people expect information at their fingertips. When it comes to crucial information such as pensions, people should have access to accurate and useful information, which alongside guidance or advice will allow them to make the best choices for their investments and retirements.
“Harnessing the power of technology to give people easier access to their information will help them be more informed when planning their retirement – one of the most important financial decisions in a person’s life.”
The consultation on DWP’s recommendations is open until 28 January 2019.