ITM calls for data quality inclusion on chair's statements

ITM has called for data quality to be a compulsory inclusion in chair’s statements, in order to help “accelerate the drive” for better data.

The firm warned that without compulsion, data quality would continue to be a lower priority than investments, arguing that instead, it needed to be bought "to the top of the agenda".

This follows the launch of a new template to help defined contribution (DC) schemes in producing their annual chair's statements, published by the The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) yesterday (28 May).

Chair statements, which became a legislative requirement in April 2015, are required from the chair of all occupational DC schemes, with penalties for non-compliance.

The firm emphasised that the industry is still “some months away” from a legislative focus on data, as the Pension Schemes Bill is still finishing in the House of Lords, and will then have to progress through the House of Commons before reaching Royal Assent.

However, speaking at the PLSA conference earlier this year however, Pensions Minister Guy Opperman warned that schemes could face “draconian penalties” if their data was not dashboard-ready, adding that they “should not be waiting for legislation”.

ITM CEO, Mark Lecompte, commented: “Data is the enabler to all elements of the chair’s statement, yet continues to be the silent partner in all pension activity.

“Data standards across the industry vary widely, and we are missing an obvious opportunity to push data up the agenda for DC schemes.

“Chair’s statements are designed to be member focused - reassuring members that you are on top of their money and data quality as well as protection should be part and parcel of building trust and engagement with pensions.”

The firm highlighted that despite action taken by The Pensions Regulator in October last year to drive up data standards, research by the Society of Pension Professionals shortly after revealed that almost half of its members thought data quality was the greatest obstacle for the dashboard.

Furthermore, analysis from earlier this year, conducted by PensionBee, highlighted that “drastic” data cleansing was still needed to ensure the pensions dashboard is a success.

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