Pension Dashboard  

ABI defends multiple pension dashboards

ABI defends multiple pension dashboards

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has defended the decision not to have a single, centralised pension dashboard, on the grounds competition would lead to innovation and better consumer outcomes.

The industry body, which is running the pension dashboard prototype project, argued a single dashboard would be unable to meet the needs of every consumer in the country.

Addressing concerns multiple dashboards would be confusing for consumers, Yvonne Braun, director of long-term savings and protection policy at the ABI, said: "The pension dashboard prototype project is about demonstrating conclusively that it is possible to gather all of a person's pension entitlements in one place of that person's choosing.

"It was never the purpose of the project to create a single dashboard, but rather to build the 'plumbing' required to verify a consumer's identity and then find and retrieve all their pension information from the diverse pension schemes and providers, including the state pension."

She added HM Treasury, which is in charge of the policy, explicitly favoured the multiple pensions dashboard model.

In its current design, the dashboard will have a single, centralised "pensions finder service" that will feed information from pension schemes into the pension dashboards.

Any provider will be free to design their own dashboard, provided they meet the yet-to-be-determined regulations and governance standards.

Some in the industry have opposed the multiple dashboard model on the grounds that it is confusing.

Auto-enrolment master trusts such as Now: Pensions and The People's Pension - which typically serve lower-income employees - have been particularly sceptical of the free-market approach.

In February, The People's Pension called for "a free-to-use public good dashboard overseen by a not-for-profit body which represents the consumer interest, for example the body which succeeds The Pensions Advisory Service (Tpas) and Money Advice Service (Mas)."

Examples of such a dashboard exist.

In Denmark, the industry has funded the creation of a single pension dashboard, called PensionsInfo.

The dashboard has its own website (pensionsinfo.dk), but can also be hosted on providers' websites.

At a briefing hosted by ABI member Aviva yesterday (24 March),  PensionsInfo head Michael Rasch said usage had risen rapidly to the point that approximately half of Denmark's working-age population accessed the dashboard last year.

He said users liked the "neutrality" of the Danish dashboard.

However, he added that providers were increasingly looking to use the information provided by PensionsInfo to develop their own dashboards.

Aviva's strategy and development director James Ward, who was present at the briefing, argued that, far from neglecting the needs of consumers, the multiple dashboard model could lead to better consumer outcomes.

"What benefits consumers in the long run is having really great dashboards which do a really good job of actually engaging them," he said.

"You then have to ask, do we achieve that outcome best by all getting together in one room and designing one dashboard, and trying to make it as good as we can - which is clearly the model that Denmark has got - or do you get to that point by allowing everyone to design their own dashboard, and effectively allowing a thousand flowers to bloom and see which ones work?