Government told to force providers to share pension data

Government told to force providers to share pension data

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has published today (12 October) a roadmap to the implementation of the pension dashboard, calling for legislation, a timetable and a non-commercial platform.

A project group, managed by the ABI and including 16 industry providers and the trade body Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), has set out its recommendations for what should happen next.

The plan behind the pension dashboard, which is due to be launched in 2019, is to create the technology to enable savers to see all of their retirement pots in one place at the same time, giving them a greater awareness of their assets and how to plan for their retirement.

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One of the key proposals is that the government needs to legislate to ensure that all pension providers and schemes make their data available.

Other countries with dashboard services cite compulsion as a key part of delivering a successful service, the ABI stated.

HM Treasury has stated it is in discussions with the Department for Work & Pensions to make participation in the pensions dashboard compulsory for all schemes and providers.

The ABI is also advocating for an implementation timetable, endorsed by government and industry, and the creation of an implementation and governance body, which will establish the necessary standards for all involved.

Lastly, but not least, the trade body is also recommending the establishment of a non-commercial, government-backed platform which will operate alongside services from third parties.

According to Yvonne Braun, ABI director of policy, long-term savings and protection, it is “time for the government to lay its cards on the table and be clear about what it is prepared to commit to this important project, and when”.

She said: “For such a service to succeed it needs to be as comprehensive as possible, as soon as possible, and anything which involves people’s life savings must be effectively regulated.”

Sir Steve Webb, director of policy at Royal London – one of the providers involved in these recommendations, said that “it will take years for some schemes to get their data in shape.”

So, “the sooner they know it will be a regulatory requirement, the sooner they will start work,” he added.

For Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon, the “only way to make the pension dashboard a reality is for the government to legislate."

She said: “Without legislation or regulation there’s a real risk that the pension dashboard will stop in its tracks.”

According to Nathan Long, senior pension analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, trying to retire with “pensions pots scattered here, there and everywhere is almost impossible”.

“[This] is why a dashboard that allows you to see all your pensions in one place is so crucial,” he added.

He said: “The success of the project hinges on making the pension dashboard compulsory, there are far too many old schemes that otherwise have no incentive to join the pension dashboard party.