Pension dashboard ‘ready by spring’, says Treasury

Carmen Reichman writes

A pension dashboard prototype will be launched by 11 providers next spring, the Treasury has said.

Economic Secretary to the Treasury Simon Kirby said the providers agreed to launch the first version of the tool in March, under supervision of the Association of British Insurers.

The pension dashboard will allow people to see all their pensions in one place, helping them keep track of their retirement savings and avoiding the loss of pension money. The Department for Work and Pensions estimates £400m worth of pensions savings are currently unclaimed.

The tool was first announced at the Chancellor’s March Budget with the initial deadline set for 2019.

Pension experts, including former pensions minister Ros Altmann, said at the time the industry was not ready for any swift implementation of the dashboard, warning it was too fragmented.

The dashboard project was launched as an “open, flexible, reliable, FinTech based model” at Aviva’s digital garage event on 12 September.

The providers signed up to the project are Aviva, Aon, HSBC, LV=, NEST, Now: Pensions, People’s Pension, Royal London, Standard Life, Zurich and Willis Towers Watson.

Kirby said: “Pensions and savings decisions are some of the most important a person will make during their lifetime. The government is determined to make sure people can access the information they need to plan effectively for their future.

“The pensions dashboard will unlock a huge amount of information that will help people make the best choices for them and I am delighted that 11 of the largest pension providers have agreed to work together to build a working prototype by March 2017.”

Aviva chief digital officer Andrew Brem said: “The pensions dashboard is a vital tool in increasing engagement with savings and I’m really pleased we are working on the pilot.

“As an industry we need to make it as easy as possible for people to gain a view of all their retirement savings in one place to help them take control of their future.”

The People’s Pension CEO Patrick Heath-Lay added: “It is great that the government and industry are working together to make this a reality. It is crucial we all make the most of this opportunity and the industry as a whole embraces the dashboard.”

Access to advice

The Treasury thinks having a dashboard in place will prompt more people to seek retirement advice.

It wants to help create access to advice by allowing people to take up to £500 out of their pension pots tax-free to put towards the cost of the service. The so-called pensions advice allowance is currently under consultation and is due to come into force next April.

Royal London pensions specialist Fiona Tait said the pensions dashboard would become a vital tool for consumers and advisers planning for retirement.

“It will provide, arguably for the first time, a comprehensive and clear picture of a saver’s current financial position, which will help them to create a realistic plan for their retirement. The accuracy of this information will deliver added efficiency to the process of financial advice as well as enhancing guidance services,” she said.

“The pensions dashboard will complement advisers, who will continue to have an important role in the process, alongside the newly developed technology-based planning and guidance services. It is clear that technology is having an ever increasing impact on consumer education and will ultimately result in better customer outcomes.”