Industry needs 12 months Dashboards Available Point notice - SPP

The Society of Pension Professionals (SPP) has called for the industry to be made aware of an anticipated Dashboards Available Point (DAP) at least 12 months in advance, in its response to the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) recent consultation.

In its response to the further consultation on the draft Pensions Dashboards Regulations 202, the SPP highlighted three areas needing improvement in the proposed rules, focused on the establishment of a DAP.

According to the SPP, the industry should be made aware of an 'anticipated DAP' at least 12 months in advance, so that actions can be taken to ensure the industry (whether dashboard providers or pension providers) is ready.

Provided 12 months’ notice is given, its strong preference is for at least six months to be given on final confirmation, to ensure final arrangements can be made, the society stated.

If these six months are not provided, there is the risk members will be affected by other services being disrupted and delivery may also be seen as ragged and chaotic, the SPP warned.

The SPP also reported that it expects widespread announcement of the anticipated DAP, so all providers are aware of the date to ensure a level playing field for all parts of the industry.

Incremental DAPs were the second area of concern for the society, stating that it "may be very helpful for all parties", allowing "dashboards to be launched to the public in a manageable way for providers". If millions of savers have access from the same day, that could create very large spikes in demand, it warned.

The SPP argued it is crucial that any incremental DAP approach avoids being costly, complex or potentially counter-productive. According to the SPP, this could be achieved if by linking access to an essential data item such as the individual’s date of birth and operated by the central Pensions Finder Service.

The SPP also said that it did not envisage the timing of incremental DAPs needing to take a long time as new members could be given access two to four weeks apart, over a period of perhaps three to six months.

DAP and Qualifying Pensions Dashboard Services (QPDS) was the last area of concern for the society as it believed, to ensure fairness, there should be an equal opportunity for providers who wish to be a QPDS to have received authorisation ahead of the DAP.

The SPP said that the DWP and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) must work together to agree the DAP and, to ensure no providers are given unfair advantage over others, the DWP should confirm their timescales for DAP and the FCA should confirm publicly that applications received before a certain date will be concluded prior to the DAP.

SPP chair of the legislation committee, Mark Bondi, commented: “The Society of Pension Professionals remains very supportive of the pensions dashboard. However, getting the Dashboards Available Point right will be central to the final, orderly rollout of dashboards to pension savers.

“The pensions industry needs at least 12 months’ advance notice of an anticipated Dashboards Available Point, to ensure the industry is in the final state of preparedness for an effective rollout, while incremental rollouts to different groups of pensions savers may make the administration of this key moment more manageable.

“As an industry, we will continue to work with regulators to finesse these final staging details, and ultimately deliver the successful rollout of the dashboards project.”

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