DWP gives go-ahead for gradual rollout of industry funded dashboard

Kim Kaveh reports...

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has published the pensions dashboard feasibility study, nine months after it was originally due.

The report, unveiled on Monday (3 December), forms the starting point for consultation on a range of matters including delivery models and governance. It follows months of uncertainty on dashboard delivery, and concerns that the government seemed to be stepping back from the project, which is due to launch next year.

The document said the DWP will begin with a non-commercial, single dashboard, facilitated by the soon-to-be-launched Single Financial Guidance Body (SFGB). It added it will move to a multi-dashboard approach over time, but that the SFGB option would always be available.

The project will be fully funded by the industry, and the DWP will seek to legislate for compulsion “when parliamentary time allows” – although it will also exempt small self-administered schemes (SSASs) and Executive Pension Plans (EPPs).

The feasibility study suggested financial advisers will have third-party access to the dashboard in time, noting the DWP believed such a function would support the realisation of the project’s key policy objectives – namely, among other things, to increase individual awareness and understanding of their pension information and estimated retirement income.

The DWP also hopes that that schemes, such as master trusts, will be able to supply data from 2019/20, and that the majority of schemes will be able to supply data by 2023. State pension data will be included when possible, although a link to the ‘Check Your State Pension’ service will be available from the start.

Consultation

In its consultation, the DWP is asking if there are certain types of information that should not be allowed to feature on dashboards in order to safeguard consumers; and if there should be a phased approach to building the dashboard service.

Furthermore, the DWP said it wants to know the fairest way of ensuring that those organisations who stand to gain most from dashboard services pay and what the best mechanism for achieving this is.

In a statement, pensions and financial inclusion minister Guy Opperman said the dashboard represented a “major milestone in our radical pension reforms”.

“Plain pensions information at the touch of a screen will ensure better-informed, more engaged savers and help many more people to plan effectively for retirement,” he said.

“Bringing pensions information into the digital age has the potential to revolutionise the way we all think about and plan for later life. People, young and old, should have all the help they need to get ready for retirement and maximise their pension incomes and, working with industry, we will ensure they do.”

The consultation closes on 28 January.

Key points

  • The DWP will start with non-commercial, single-dashboard, facilitated by the SFGB, before moving to a multi-dashboard approach over time, maintaining the SFGB version
  • The dashboard will be fully funded by the industry
  • Participation will start as voluntary, but the DWP will seek to legislate for compulsion ‘when parliamentary time allows’
  • It will launch next year, with the majority of schemes expected to be onboarded by 2023
  • The dashboard will include state pension data when a framework is developed – but, to begin with, there will be a link to the DWP’s Check Your State Pension service
  • Small self-administered schemes and executive pension plans will be exempted
  • Users will be able to login with their National Insurance number and other identity information
  • Users will be able to revoke consent for any dashboard to have their data