Further analysis needed on pension dashboards standards - PLSA

Further analysis of the technical issues surrounding the draft pension dashboards standards is needed before the standards are finalised, the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has said.

Although the association welcomed the extra clarity provided by the draft standards published as part of the Pensions Dashboards Programme’s (PDP) recent consultation, it suggested that there are still areas that need further consideration.

In its response to the PDP, the PLSA stated that it would have preferred the design standards to have been developed after “extensive user testing, with real connected pension schemes".

Indeed, the PLSA argued that extensive user testing is needed in respect of service expectations and user comprehension to feed into the standards, stating that it would expect that future iterations would be informed by user testing.

In addition to this, the PLSA pointed out that many of its members will be using an integrated service provider (ISP) to connect to dashboards and would like to hear their views to be confident in the standards.

In particular, the association explained that there are still many elements of the lower-level design that are not finalised, suggesting that not having finalised standards until late 2022 could place a "significant risk" on some schemes’ ability to implement a solution in a controlled fashion.

It also warned that the reporting requirements may be too onerous for data providers, as they seek real time data on a daily basis without any explanation of why this is necessary.

In light of this, the association suggested that a cost benefit analysis could help the industry to understand whether these requirements are feasible and what risks they are seeking to mitigate.

PLSA director of policy and advocacy, Nigel Peaple, commented: “The PLSA welcomes the emerging clarity and encouraging progress towards creating an ecosystem for pensions dashboards, that the PDP’s standards create.

“However, we have identified many important technical issues where further analysis is needed before the standards can be settled, with just a few being: do users expect and want to see figures within two seconds, as proposed; how can multiple warnings be displayed so as not to confuse users; how will users react to possible matches; and will most users use dashboards on their phones, as expected?

“Of course, no-one will be sure whether the standards are fully correct until dashboards are operating and savers are interrogating their pension data.

"We expect iterations of the standards to be necessary in the future, but we would like PDP to seek the right balance between perfecting the standards via future amendments and the number of iterations required of pension schemes and providers.

“We have consistently asked for extensive user testing in respect of understandability, and we believe this should still happen and feed into the standards.”

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