Pensions dashboard must ‘demand engagement’ – CPS

A pensions dashboard must “demand engagement” according to a new report by the Centre for Policy Studies.

In a new report, titled The Pensions Dashbaord: Vital for UK plc, CPS research fellow Michael Johnson argues that simply providing information will not embed the forthcoming pensions dashboard into the minds of the general public.

Instead, in order to encourage individual participation, the dashboard should demand engagement by providing utility to reveal its large potential; for example the ability to merge many pots into one place.

Johnson has called for the first dashboard to be hosted on a ‘gov.uk’ server and overseen by a new pensions guidance body. This is the first of nine proposals made in the report concerning the dashboard’s implementation.

Furthermore, the report recommends that the dashboard’s ministerial champion Harriett Baldwin MP should appoint a small independent governing board to oversee the dashboard project.

It proposed that the dashboard could mimic Australia’s SuperStream programme which works to enhance the ‘back office’ of superannuation.

It claimed that a similar programme “would require employers, pensions funds, service providers and HMRC to adhere to standardised electronic pensions data and payments processing, linked by National Insurance number, to facilitate consistent messaging standards”.

Intended to be a one-stop-shop for consumers’ pension pots, Johnson also suggested that the dashboard could be extended to include bank balances, savings accounts and investments, as well as its initial function.

“A pensions dashboard should be merely the first step towards a comprehensive dashboard to display all facets of our personal finances,” he said.

The report also put forward the idea that the government could provide “some focus to the development of the prototype by requesting that it be built specifically for the 4.6 million members of the Local Government Pension Scheme".

Additional proposals included 2019 deadlines for small, lost or orphan pots to be exempt from charges and fees, a date for all life companies’ books to be terminated and ‘dashboard-ready’ and a final deadline for interim delivery dates of the dashboard ahead of its complete release in 2019.

Banks Wealth Management chartered financial planner Steve Danson noted that the pensions dashboard would be very beneficial, but voiced concerns that the lack of compulsion could be problematic.

“I think it should be compulsory, because the old guard providers probably wouldn’t buy into it if there was no incentive,” he stated.

Danson added that there is a growing need for a system that helps people repossess their lost or forgotten pensions.

“I’ve seen two clients in the past fortnight who had pension pots they didn’t know about,” he said.

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