Pension Dashboard  

Advisers dismiss pension dashboard

Advisers dismiss pension dashboard

Financial advisers have questioned the purpose of the pension dashboard, as most of their clients already have access to this data and will be forced to pay for the project in the end.

The project, which is due to launch in 2019, aims to allow savers to see all of their retirement pots in one place at the same time, giving them greater awareness of their assets and how to plan for their retirement.

Earlier this month, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced the industry would be allowed to develop its own dashboards, alongside a non-commercial service hosted by the single financial guidance body (SGFB). 

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According to Darren Cooke, chartered financial planner at Derbyshire-based Red Circle Financial Planning, the project would be "a case of 'if you build it they will ignore it'".

He told FTAdviser some advised clients already had the ability to view most, if not all, of their plans in one place through a client portal.

He said: "Not all advisers offer it, I do, and my experience is clients in general don't use it very much.

"In general, they will also be able to log on to a provider’s website and see their pension there, again I don't think many bother.

"They don't even bother to look at their annual statements so I'm not sure why an on-line portal will make much difference."

Mr Cooke agreed with those who believed the project would only be successful if it included all pension pots held by the individual.

He said: "That would require compulsion and for all pension providers and trustees to be able to provide data to the dashboard. At present, most can't do that.

"Any half-baked attempt won't work and will quickly fall out of favour and die I think. I would be happy to be proved wrong, but I think it’s a massive white elephant."

Steven Farrall, senior partner at Suffolk-based Williams Farrall Woodward, argued the project would be useful for IFAs and their clients if it worked, which he didn't believe would be the case.

He said: "All advisers worth their salt already have or have in development online portals that deliver a ‘dashboard’. And can already produce an integrated pensions report from the data they hold. Data aggregation is what we do."

Mr Farrall argued that for the project to be delivered, it will have to be funded by "taxes on clients" by forcing pension schemes and insurers to pay for it or by taking additional trading taxes from advisers and investment companies.

He said: "The poor bloody client always pays.

"In short, the pensions dashboard is a colossal waste of money. It’s already being done by ‘the market’.

"This is just another regulationist and/or political vanity project. Millions of pounds will be wasted. Double spent if you like. Shut it down."

Paul Stocks, financial services director at Dobson and Hodge, argued the project will be most useful for the non-advised clients which have a number of pension pots, who would benefit from one information source covering all of their arrangements.