Statement season should be 'developed alongside' pensions dashboards

The proposed statement season for defined contribution (DC) pensions should be rolled out in a measured fashion and developed alongside the Pensions Dashboards Programme to avoid a capacity crunch, according to Premier Pensions

Premier head of administration, Girish Menezes, said the company was a supporter of the introduction of a statement season, which would see the imposition of a common publication timeframe, but said it was vital for the focus to initially be on a common publication date rather than a common valuation date.

His comments came after Pensions Minister, Guy Opperman, established a Statement Season Working Group to examine whether DC schemes used for auto-enrolment should send statements within a time-limited window.

Menezes commented: “Even with a common publication date approach, the industry will need sufficient time to plan and resource such a change. A realistic target date for bringing in the statement season might be 2024 rather than 2023 given the lead in time required.

“However, a common valuation date approach will be far more complex to implement than the first, as schemes and administrators may encounter significant difficulties, complex scheme changes, create a capacity crunch and incur additional and unnecessary costs. We do not believe this approach would provide any additional benefit to the member.”

He added that the goal could “put significant pressure on administration teams and create resource issues”, which he warned might “put other service levels and other commitments at risk”, such as the rollout of pensions dashboards.

Menezes concluded: “Highlighting the importance of pension savings is imperative and the introduction of an annual benefit statement season is potentially a useful way of engaging and capturing member interest.

“Most people will end up with several pension pots over their working life and they are likely to make better pension decisions by having access to core information across these pots at the same time each year. In this way, savers can compare their pension arrangements and take an overall view while making informed saving and retirement choices.”

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