Pension Dashboard  

Industry looks to Rudd for pension dashboard delivery

Industry looks to Rudd for pension dashboard delivery

Pension experts have called on Amber Rudd, the new secretary of state for Work and Pensions, to prioritise the delivery of the pension dashboard in her new role.

The former Home secretary replaced Esther McVey on Friday (November 16) after her resignation in protest over the deal reached between the UK and the European Union over Brexit.

The appointment marked Ms Rudd's return to the cabinet after she had quit in April over the controversy surrounding the Windrush generation.

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Jon Greer, head of retirement policy at Quilter, said it was encouraging to hear Ms Rudd already proclaiming her support for the pension dashboard.

He said: "If she’s looking for an easy win before year-end then she should provide clarity on the government’s role in the dashboard and ensure her department publishes its feasibility study swiftly."

The pension dashboard is supposed to launch in 2019 as an initiative to allow savers to see information on all their retirement savings in one place.

In September, the government said it would let the industry take lead on the project as it shied away from committing to force providers to submit client data.

So far the DWP has spent about £100,000 on the dashboard feasibility study, which was originally tabled to be published in March.

Mr Greer noted, however, that Ms Rudd was the sixth work and pensions secretary since March 2016 when Iain Duncan Smith left the role after six years.

He said: "The chances of [Ms] Rudd being the concrete force able to weather the political storm is unlikely. Her fate is tied to that of the Prime Minister who is undeniably on shaky ground.

"In fact that alliance is probably one of the main reasons [Theresa] May added her back into the cabinet, as [Ms] Rudd’s experience with pensions seems a bit sparse."

Sir Steve Webb, former pensions minister and director of policy at Royal London, said in a large and complex department like the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), there is a risk the attention of a new secretary of state was "quickly focussed on complex and contentious issues like sorting out universal credit". 

"But pension policy is also of vital importance to millions and we urgently need a secretary of state who gives it the attention that it deserves," he noted.

Sir Steve said the dashboard should be a priority as well as making sure that there is a pensions bill in the next Queen’s Speech.

He added: "That bill should make it compulsory for pension schemes and providers to send data to a dashboard, as without compulsion the project will fail."

Malcolm McLean, senior consultant at Barnett Waddingham, said Ms Rudd "seems a very forthright person who will doubtless bring her own personality and ideas to the job".

He added: "I have a feeling that she may want to involve herself more in the pensions side of things than her predecessors, but will inevitably want to sort out universal credit first."