The much-heralded pensions dashboard had been promised in January 2019.
That time came and went; 2020 is now almost over (thank goodness) and yet still no pensions dashboard.
Then the announcement came: expect it in 2023.
For those hoping they could start getting their pensions ducks in order – specifically those generation Xers who are approaching 55 years old – this delay is another blow to their financial planning.
Understandably there have been reasons for the delay: the difficulty in bringing together old pots from pre-digitalisation days, questions over the infrastructure required; and the need for levels of greater collaboration across sectors are just three of the problems that have reared their heads in recent months.
But the delay is a great disappointment. As Jon Greer, head of retirement policy at Quilter, said: “It is encouraging to have new, clearer timeframes for the pension dashboard, but it’s safe to say that new timeline, which puts the launch for 2023, will come as a disappointment to many.
“The pension dashboard has the potential to be game changing for the retirement saving landscape, which is still trying to claw its way into the technological age.
“Easily being able to access all your pension information on a dashboard makes things simple and if it’s simple then people are much more likely to actually engage with their pensions.”
When commentators from across government and industry talk all the time about the need for joined-up thinking, greater engagement, and using technology to encourage people to take control of their finances, you might have been misled into believing policymakers actually wanted these things to happen.
What has transpired, however, is that something which will cost the industry money, and which will benefit the consumer over and above the provider, is not coming to market at any time in the near future.
Will the next three years really see any major development? Will 2023 come and go and see this ball kicked further into the long grass?
In March this year, former Financial Services Authority chief executive Hector Sants, now chairman of the Money and Pensions Service, declined to give a launch date for the public pensions dashboard, saying there were too many variables to be considered at this time.
Speaking before the Work and Pensions Committee, Sir Hector said: “It is not realistic for me to set up a date,” and noted that Maps had not yet determined the technology that will be used for the project.
The industry has, by the way, had more than four years to sort out technology; the dashboard was announced in 2016’s Budget.
Put it another way: Elon Musk sent a Tesla Roadster into space in 2018; the Roadster is now approaching Mars. It has taken a mannequin called Starman less time to get from Earth to Mars than it has taken government and industry to sort out the technology platform for the pensions dashboard.