FCA publishes final pensions dashboard rules for providers

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published the final rules on pensions dashboards for pension providers.

The final rules are largely unchanged from the draft consulted on, although the FCA has extended the implementation deadline from 30 June 2023 to 31 August 2023, in line with the government’s extension to the staging deadline for the first cohort.

As a result, FCA regulated pension providers must now complete connection of their personal and stakeholder pension schemes to the Money and Pensions Service (Maps) digital architecture, in line with the relevant standards, by 31 August 2023.

FCA regulated pension providers must also be ready to receive requests to find pensions, and search records for data matches, and to return pensions information to the consumer’s chosen pensions dashboard, by the same date.

In response to concerns about demand for integrated service solution providers outstripping supply, the FCA has also expanded the scope of its transitional provision (TP).

This means that providers with fewer than 5,000 pots in accumulation and that rely on a third-party integrated service provider (ISP) to achieve compliance can have a later connection deadline of 31 October 2024.

In light of feedback that some providers do not currently have online information about costs and charges for certain plans, the FCA has also qualified the additional data signpost requirements.

The final rules therefore now state that, where costs and charges information for a particular pension is not currently available online, the signposted website need not detail the actual costs and charges but must, as a minimum, explain clearly to the consumer how they can obtain details about the costs and charges that apply specifically to their plan.

The FCA stated: "Pensions dashboards have the potential to benefit consumers in several ways. By equipping people with basic information about the pensions they have, consumers may find it easier to plan for retirement, get advice or guidance, and ultimately make informed decisions. Encouraging consumers to better engage with their pensions is one of our priorities in this market.

"The pensions dashboards initiative furthers our strategic objective to ensure that relevant markets function well by accelerating the digitisation of the pensions sector and providing greater access to pensions information."

The publication of the final rules was highlighted by Interactive Investor senior personal finance analyst, Myron Jobson, as "light at the end of the tunnel", emphasising that the implementation date of 31 August 2023 has "now been set in stone".

He continued: "“Pensions dashboards have been long in the making and can’t come soon enough to help savers make better informed decisions regarding their retirement nest egg.

“It’s widely accepted that simplicity is key to the success of the pensions dashboard initiative. There may be bumps in the road, but today’s rules are a milestone moment.

"Sorting complex information underlying pension schemes into easily digestible nuggets of information is vital. Pensions dashboards should also give users the ability to do something with this information."

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