The update on the pensions dashboard today is an attempt by the Association of British Insurers to kick policymakers into action, it has been said.
The ABI’s roadmap for the pensions dashboard, set out the next steps for the dashboard to enable it to be rolled out to the public; it particularly stressed that the government needs to take action to legislate for the dashboard to be a success.
However, AJ Bell senior analyst Tom Bell warned that a government “fixated on Brexit” and Theresa May’s weakened position, risks forcing the pensions dashboard project off the political agenda.
“The ABI is clearly concerned about a lack of will from Whitehall and today’s announcement looks like an attempt to kick policymakers into action. On a practical level the proposed 2019 implementation deadline might be a stretch, particular given the government’s lack of involvement in recent months. Legislation will inevitably be needed to ensure maximum coverage, particularly from closed-book providers who hold information on outdated systems that would likely require expensive upgrades.”
Other voices in the pensions industry also urged the government to get back on board with the dashboard. PASA chair Margaret Snowdon said that funding must be considered and the government should be looking at “creative ways to support these essential improvements for the benefit of the nation”.
The People’s Pension director of policy Darren Philp added: “We are calling on the government to make a firm commitment to back the Dashboard and legislate to ensure it has full adoption and is actually useful to savers.”
Furthermore, Royal London director of policy Steve Webb also warned that the dashboard “risks being like a jigsaw with missing pieces”. He said that if savers can only see some of their pensions, they will not get a complete picture and the value of the dashboard will be greatly reduced.
“Even if government were simply to announce an intention to legislate to require all schemes and providers to participate, this would give fresh momentum to the project. It will take years for some schemes to get their data in shape and the sooner they know it will be a regulatory requirement, the sooner they will start work. Other countries have had dashboards for years, and UK consumers should not be left in the slow lane”.
The need for the dashboard to have all the information on an individual’s different pensions was also supported by The Pensions Regulator director of auto-enrolment Darren Ryder. “The prototype is also a clear demonstration of what industry can achieve when it works together and showcases the huge benefits the pensions industry could get from the application of such technology,” he said.