Pension Dashboard  

Calls for regulation of dashboard providers

Calls for regulation of dashboard providers

The government should introduce a new permissions regime for companies who wish to provide commercial pension dashboards, Scottish Widows has stated.

Peter Glancy, head of policy, pension and investments at the provider, suggested the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) would be the right regulator to take on this task.

In his response to the Department for Work & Pensions' dashboard feasibility study, he wrote: "We believe that consumers can be further protected by ensuring that only the capable and well intentioned are permitted to access the ‘pension finder service’ and make dashboards available to customers.

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"To this end, the provision of pension dashboards should be a regulated activity and prospective providers should be authorised by the FCA and subject to the regulator’s ongoing scrutiny."

The pension dashboard project will 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.

The first one, a non-commercial service hosted by the Single Financial Guidance Body (SGFB), is expected to be launched this year.

The feasibility consultation closed on January 28 and the government is expected to issue its response in mid-March.

Last week the pensions minister guaranteed the government would force schemes to provide data for the pension dashboard, but admitted he still had doubts about the timeline for such a move.

Mr Glancy said the FCA should introduce new permissions for firms to be able to provide a commercial dashboard.

He said: "An existing pension provider or a financial adviser firm could extend their permissions relatively easily. But if a brand-new firm comes along, then they can apply for permission."

Mr Glancy also suggested a similar regime to the one for master trusts should be introduced for dashboards, when it comes to financial holdings.

He said: "If you're handling customers’ data and money, things could wrong, you could have a data protection breach. So, if you're going to be providing a financial service to customers, you need to have enough capital to sort things out and provide compensation when things go wrong.

"That happened in the master trust regime, it wasn't regulated to start with, nobody had any capital and one of the requirements we have now for master trusts providers is that they have enough capital at their disposal to sort things out."

Under the new registration process, which is open until the end of March, master trusts will have to hold enough capital to cover the cost of a worst-case scenario, such as the cost of transferring to another scheme or of winding up, without charging members.