Scheme-specific combined matching criteria needed on dashboards

Although a 'good starting point', last name, date of birth, and national insurance numbers are not enough for dashboards matching, according to research from ITM and Altus, with around one in 10 pensions missed when attempting matches solely on these criteria.

The analysis found that for 90.8 per cent of the sample schemes’ member records, the last name and date of birth held by the schemes are exactly the same as those that would be included in find requests received by the central digital architecture, as verified by the central identity service.

This would mean that around one out of every 10 pensions could be missed, representing nearly 10 million pensions not found across the whole UK pensions universe.

However, the research assumed these same 90.8 per cent of users would have voluntarily, and correctly, input their national insurance number, and that these are the same as the national insurance numbers held by our sample schemes.

According to ITM and Altus, it is likely that these assumptions will be true for only a percentage of the member population, meaning the base level find rate for almost all schemes will be lower than the 'best case' scenario of 90.8 per cent.

Furthermore, while the analysis found that it was possible to increase the find rate to 99.26 per cent or more by using a combination of different match criteria against its research dataset, it emphasised that the "final 0.74 per cent of unmatched records are still a problem".

ITM and Altus found that even 0.74 per cent could equate to around 740,000 pensions not being found, stressing that whilst this is "a lot better" than 10 million pensions not being found, these 740,000 pensions could be very important to the people they belong to.

In light of this, the report encouraged trustees to do their own scheme-specific thinking to decide on the different match criteria to use on their scheme, suggesting that they will likely want to consider using a combination of match criteria, called a “match policy”.

Commenting in the foreword of the report, Pensions Dashboards Programme principal, Chris Curry, said: “This large-scale matching research by ITM / Altus is invaluable for bringing to life any matching issues and will help pension schemes and their technology partners devise sophisticated matching solutions.”

Adding to this, PLSA dashboard consultant, Richard Smith, who was a key collaborator in producing the research, said: “Matching might not be highly exciting, but it is essential. Sophisticated matching by ISPs means as many as possible, hopefully all, of a user’s pensions will be found and displayed on whichever dashboard they’re using.

“Dashboards shine a light on schemes’ personal and pensions data like never before, and the admin industry, so often the Cinderella of pensions, is getting ready to step into the spotlight.”

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