Comprehensive dashboard not expected until 2024

A comprehensive pensions dashboard may not be made into a reality until 2024, it has been suggested by industry experts.

Pensions experts speaking on a panel session about the dashboard at a Pensions Age seminar on data earlier this month in association with ITM, were asked what they believe is a reasonable expectation for the dashboard to be up and running.

Independent pension professional, Richard Smith, who drew up the plan for automatic enrolment, believes that compulsion of data from providers can’t start until 2022, and that we will start to see a comprehensive dashboard by August 2024.

PensionBee CEO Romi Savova agreed for the most part with Smith, but she does not think the dashboard will be comprehensive by 2024. “I think there will be a staging timely that will likely begin in 2024,” she said. Also taking part in the debate was Royal Mail Pensions and Civil Service head of engagement, Mick Mulligan, who added that 2024 was a “reasonable timeframe”.

Smart Pension head of policy, Darren Philp, stated that the period of when the dashboard is launched, to when all the data and information is on it, can’t be 10 years, it must be shorter, “and that is the key challenge that we have got”.

The original government target for the pensions dashboard was for 2019, but the industry appears to be doubtful that this target will be achieved. Philp, said a 2019 deadline is “absolute cloud cuckoo land” and Savova added that “it is just not going to happen”.

During the panel session there was debate surrounding how to get the dashboard up and running, and whether all of an individual’s pension information needs to be on the dashboard right from the start. Philp said the big question is whether the state pension should be on the dashboard from day one, because for many people the state pension is a big chunk of their retirement.

“There is a commitment from the government that is needed to get the state pension on the dashboard, and get it on as soon as possible,” he said. However, Philp also said that having a dashboard with partial information could do more harm than good.

There was also the question of whether fees should be available to view on the dashboard, however, this could all affect when the dashboard will be ready available to the public. Savova said the main trade-off will be how soon does the industry want to get the dashboard live and “that really should drive what is achievable”.

“The industry has no common format for reporting charges today, and if we have to go through that process first before we can get a version of dashboard live then we’re definitely in the middle of the process of getting a dashboard.”

However, it was agreed by the panel, and other speakers during the day, that the pensions dashboard has a key role to play in helping people to better understand their retirement. Smith believes there is a “real opportunity to increase the national level of confidence in retirement”.

The Pensions Regulator policy manager, regulatory policy directorate, Louise Sivyer, believes it will play a key role in helping people plan for the future. She said the regulator welcomes the government’s commitment that all schemes will need to supply data, adding that good quality data is “absolutely critical”.

Commenting on the session, ITM CEO Darran Blount said: “It was great listening to the varied viewpoints of our panel – and how they see the dashboard panning out. Data is clearly a key component to success and as independent data consultants we see the spectrum of data standards across DB and DC.

"Understandably, making data dashboard ready isn’t necessarily top of the agenda right now; specific requirements and compulsion will change that. The good news is, many activities that are already underway; de-risking, GMPs and even looking at retirement options – are all data-centric and helping to get data dashboard ready.”

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