PLSA Local Authority 2017: A 'commercially neutral' pensions dashboard could build public trust - PLSA

Written by Talya Misiri

A high profile public service pension dashboard that is "commercially neutral" could help to build public trust in financial services, the PLSA has suggested.

Speaking at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association Local Authority Conference, PLSA senior policy adviser Matthew Burrell explained that while there has been a positive reception to the dashboard prototype so far, it is necessary to ensure consumer and data protection, clarity of purpose and gain public trust.

The PLSA noted that individuals are generally positive about the idea of a pensions dashboard. A survey revealed that 77 per cent of pension holders were "interested" and 37 per cent were "very interested" in a website displaying all of their pension entitlements.

While these figures are reassuring, Burrell pointed out that "there is very limited trust for financial services in the UK"; according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, just over a third, 36 per cent, of the UK population trust the financial services industry.

A solution to this could be "one high profile public service dashboard", Burrell suggested.

"When you've got brands like the Money Advice Service and TPAS and various others, you have built up a good reputation for interacting with consumers and providing good guidance, then it only makes sense for people to seek out information at these trusted sources.

"This isn't to say that there shouldn't be other dashboards, but that there should be one where people can see all of their information in a commercially neutral environment... with no commercial drive behind it," Burrell proposed.

A public service dashboard could make it easier for the industry gain a clearer view of how many people are accessing their information, the PLSA adviser suggested.

In addition, Burrell highlighted that consumer protection and therefore, data protection is "absolutely crucial" for the dashboard. "Those offering dashboards should be FCA authorised and pass a fit and proper test" in order to prevent anyone from providing the platform in a damaging way, he said.

Furthermore, it was noted that there needs to be a clarity of purpose for the dashboard, the PLSA said it believes that the initial goal should be to drive high engagement in the UK with a long-term view to driving increased savings behaviour.

Overall, Burrell stated that the PLSA is in favour of the dashboard as it comes against a backdrop of change, where financial capability in the UK is currently low and will encourage the UK workforce to address the chronic under-saving problem.

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