Pasa launches Data Management Plan Guidance

The Pensions Administration Standards Association (Pasa) has launched its Data Management Plan Guidance in conjunction with Pasa expert knowledge provider for data, Deloitte.

The organisation explained that the guidance, which was drawn up by its established data working group, demonstrated that holding complete and accurate data was essential to schemes’ primary objective of paying the correct benefits to members at the right time.

It also noted that The Pensions Regulator had a “clear increased focus” on encouraging trustees to regularly examine their data, noting that the regulator had demonstrated that it would act where data was not satisfactory by demanding that trustee boards of over 400 schemes undertook data reviews.

It recommended the formulation of a data management plan (DMP), which the guidance said should include details of required data items and the purpose of each item, data handling processes, plans for data quality measurements, and maintenance of a record of decisions made by trustees.

The guidance features detailed examples of the kind of content that pension schemes could include in each of these sections, including listing the kinds of scheme-specific data items that are needed.

Pasa data working group chair, Kristy Cotton, said: “A DMP is a critical scheme document and forms part of good scheme governance. Its implementation offers a means of documenting the data held by a pension scheme and a policy for managing it effectively.

“This guidance sets out, at a high level, the purpose of a DMP and the information which it may be expected to include such as processing, security and improvement. We would encourage all trustees to review the completeness, accuracy and appropriateness of their data and integrate a DMP as part of their wider risk management framework.”

Pasa board director, Chris Tagg, commented: “The importance of managing the quality of pension scheme data is greater than ever, and rightly so. Developments in legislation and regulation - such as GDPR, GMP equalisation, buy-in/buyout and pensions dashboard - have pushed data quality and management to the top of the agenda for both the trustees of pension schemes and their employers.

“It’s now becoming critical for data to be complete and accurate for a scheme to meet its duty to members, as well as legislative requirements, but it’s a big task and the difficulty for many schemes lies in what to prioritise.”

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