PA Northern Conference 2020: Initial pensions dashboard to focus on 'basic information'

The initial pensions dashboard will focus on providing basic pension information, with more sophisticated features to evolve over time, Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) principal, Chris Curry, has confirmed.

Speaking at the Pensions Age Northern Conference, Curry stated that the PDP would be focusing on providing a basic level on information to allow users to locate and view their pension to avoid overcomplicating the dashboard.

He stated: “Our vision of a pensions dashboard is now somewhere where an individual can go online to find all their information about all their pensions in one place, digitally, safely and securely.

“Really what we’re focusing on initially is enabling people to find their pensions and to make sure they can then see their pensions.”

He added that whilst there is a lot more information that could be included, such as costs and charges information or investment and environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles, this should not be the priority.

Curry continued: "All those things are important but they’re probably not the most important thing for people to find out initially bout their pension when they go through the dashboard.

“We’re looking to evolve dashboards as they go along, and certainly a lot of those sophisticated pieces of information that people might look for will eventually find there way onto the pensions dashboard.

“But in order to get that balance in timeline, getting something out relatively quickly and getting something out that is relatively useful, we’re just going to focus on enabling people to find the basic information about their pension information.”

The simplified approach was also highlighted as a lesson learned from international dashboards, as Curry noted that many international dashboards have started off “overcomplicated” and then had to be retrospectively simplified.

He continued: “We know that there are very specific challenges for the UK, we have a much larger number of pension providers than most other countries, we have a more diverse pension system than many other countries do, but that challenge doesn’t daunt us.

“We want to make sure we cover everything and everyone as part of the pensions dashboard system, so we will learn as much as we can overseas, but we know there’s also some unique challenges that this country faces."

One such unique challenge, he noted, is that nearly every other country that has a pensions dashboard also has a national digital identity.

“That makes it much easier to know that the people using the dashboard are who they say they are, we don’t have that so we can’t really follow in that example,” he adds.

However, Curry confirmed that the PDP would be commencing the procurement for the ID solution in the "next couple of months" following recent market engagement, emphasising that it is “really important” to ensure a robust and reliable data identity solution.

Furthermore, he reassured prospective users that whilst the PDP is aware that cyber criminals will be interested in the dashboard, every care is being taken in the design of the infrastructure to make it as safe and secure as it possibly can.

He also emphasised that the scaled-back approach of the dashboard will add an “additional layer of security”, stating that only information will be flowing through the dashboard, rather than any money or transactions.

He added: “Obviously, we have to be incredibly careful to make it as safe and secure as possible.

“So alongside these in-built securities, the ID verification and authentication system and the architectural design that limits the access points in the data, we are drawing up a very specific consumer protection schedule and also looking at the liability model to try and understand what happens if things do go wrong.”

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