Three main principles must underpin the pensions dashboard, the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Kirby, said in a speech at an Aviva event held in London today (12 September).
This follows news today that a prototype of the pensions dashboard will be ready by March 2017.
Mr Kirby said firstly the pension dashboard will need to be open to a range of companies who can meet basic standards of security and data protection - including banks and fintechs, not just pension providers.
He said: “No single dashboard can meet the needs of millions of people who all have very different individual circumstances. There is definitely no government website that could do that either.
“There is no monopoly of wisdom. The dashboard needs to be an infrastructure of open standards – like a common language and system for finding, collating, and sharing pension information.”
According to Mr Kirby, secondly, the dashboard needs to be flexible.
“It is unrealistic to expect every provider to be ready to contribute the same data to the dashboard at the same time. It is probably impossible to present all the different types of pensions in exactly the same way.
“The infrastructure therefore needs to be built in such a way that it can adapt and expand over time. It cannot be a single, monolithic IT platform set in stone forever.”
He said the dashboard thirdly needs to be reliable.
“Because if we want to encourage people to save more, then they need to be able to trust in pensions. That starts with people being able to access basic information, across all their pension pots, without having to pay to do so.
“There’s nothing wrong with charging for useful services – be it advice, savings plans, consolidation services or other possibilities that don’t yet exist.
“But we need to get the free provision of the basic information right, and make sure it’s consistent across different types of pensions.”
He added the state pension would be a part of that process and he was keen to see the whole industry work together to set the minimum standards for how data is shared.
“We want that process to happen through the excellent voluntary collaboration we’ve seen to date. But if there are difficulties getting everyone on board, then we’ll certainly look at legislation or regulation instead.
“So I would encourage everyone to start on this as soon as possible.”