The government’s announcement that they will back the pensions industry to deliver a pensions dashboard is a “huge breakthrough”, according to director of policy at Royal London, Steve Webb.
“Backed by this renewed commitment by the government, the whole pension industry now needs to work together to drive forward this much-needed initiative,” he added.
There were concerns in the industry that the government was planning to “kill off” the dashboard plan, which would allow members to easily access all their pension pots, but the recent announcement has alleviated some of those concerns.
In an update, work and pensions secretary Esther McVey commented: “The pensions landscape is transforming and the dashboard offers a great opportunity to give people straightforward access to their pension information.
“It’s clear there is broad support for the concept of a dashboard and its potential to empower those putting money away for their futures.
“By taking a leading role, and harnessing their knowledge, industry can develop a dashboard that works for pensions holders – and government will help facilitate this.”
The sense of relief was palpable in industry comments on the announcement. PLSA director of policy and research, Nigel Peaple said: “The pensions dashboard will be an essential tool to help savers plan their retirement income. We’re therefore very pleased the government has stated its commitment to the delivery of a dashboard, and that it will facilitate this project.”
Hymans Robertson product architect, Scott Finnie agreed: “It’s great news for consumers that the government is pressing ahead with the pensions dashboard, particularly in the context of freedom and choice and the burden of responsibility that puts on consumers.”
However, there is some concerns amongst industry professionals that the plan will fall flat if the government is not willing to offer their full support and leave the industry to sort everything out.
AJ Bell personal finance analyst, Laura Suter commented: “The government’s statement on the pension dashboard is hardly a huge vote of confidence for the initiative. It hasn’t walked away from the project completely but it has acknowledged the size and the complexity of the challenge and laid responsibility for delivery firmly at the door of the industry. An incomplete pension dashboard is not going to be of use to anyone.”
The People’s Pension director of policy, Gregg McClymont echoed this sentiment: “Without the government’s lead on the pensions dashboard, it cannot become the one-stop shop that people need it to be. The state pension and public pensions are unlikely to be included, and unless the dashboard is backed up by legislation, savers won’t be able to see all their pots in one place as many providers simply won’t play ball. The point of it will be lost.”
Although most seem to think that the government backing the pensions dashboard is good for consumers, there are still reservations over how much the government will be involved.