Royal London tells govt to ‘put consumer first’ in dashboard plea

The CEO of Royal London, Phil Loney, has urged the government to save the pensions dashboard and “put the consumers first”.

Commenting in its interim results today, Loney argued that the government must take the lead in the “highly fragmented” UK pensions system and “press ahead with the dashboard project”.

The plea follows rumours that the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, was planning to kill off the project over concerns that it would distract from the government’s attempt to roll out universal credit.

“The UK pensions system is highly fragmented and auto-enrolment will add further to the number of people with pensions scattered across multiple schemes and providers. In many other countries, citizens can see all of their pensions – state, workplace and private – all in one place, and there is no reason why UK citizens should not be able to do so,” he said.

He added that the pensions industry has already spent time and money preparing the prototype dashboard and that the government now needed to do its bit.

“We need government to take a lead, both in ensuring that state and public sector pension data is available and also in requiring all pension schemes and providers to supply data. It is time to put the consumer first and press ahead with the dashboard project, and we stand ready to work with the government to drive this project forward.”

The group posted strong results in the first half of 2018, recording a £358m profit before tax, £31m up on the £327m it achieved over the same period a year ago, but Loney took the opportunity to speak out on the dashboard project.

Royal London said it recorded a 23 per cent uptick in individual pensions and drawdown new business sales, totalling £3.577bn, offset by a fall in group pensions sales due to the end of the auto-enrolment roll-out.

He added: “Sluggish economic growth and the ending of the auto-enrolment roll-out provided a challenging backdrop for pensions and investment companies in the first half of 2018. I’m pleased to report that Royal London has consolidated its record 2017 trading position with EEV pre-tax profit up 9 per cent per cent to £358m, reflecting an operating profit of £187m in the first six months of the year.”

A petition looking to save the pension dashboard from extinction has now gained over 140,000 signatures since it started, however, it will not be debated in parliament because it is not an official government petition.

The dashboard feasibility study is currently ongoing and is expected to be completed this year.

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