Pensions dashboards unlikely to go live this year

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Pensions dashboards unlikely to go live this year

Despite the pension dashboard project having both industry-wide and government backing, it is unlikely that the technology will be delivered “any time soon”, according to Steve Webb.

The pension dashboard project was first announced in the 2016 Budget with the government pledging to ensure the industry designed, funded and launched a dashboard by 2019.

But following delays to the legislation - such as the upcoming Pensions Bill being put on ice because of last month's general election - the industry will have to wait longer for these dashboards to become consumer-facing.

A pensions dashboard is a digital interface that allows savers to see all their lifetime pension savings in one place, with the data being retrieved directly from providers and updated in real time.

Sir Steve, a former pensions minister and now director of policy at Royal London, said he expected the Pensions Bill to resurface next year, with the government eager to push forward on pension dashboards.

He said: “One of the main measures in the Pensions Bill will be legislation to implement the long-awaited pensions dashboard. The main measures require pension schemes and pension providers to supply data to the dashboard as well as making it possible for state pension data to be displayed as well.  

“But we should not expect to see a comprehensive dashboard any time soon.”

He explained that primary legislation could take most of 2020 to reach the statute book and this could then be followed by months of consultation on regulations or secondary legislation which sets out how the dashboards will work and what will be required from providers and the industry in general.

Sir Steve said: “Once the legislative work is complete we are likely to see an early batch of data loaded onto the dashboard, mainly from more modern automatic enrolment schemes offered by insurers and master trusts.  

“After this, it is likely to be several more years before a lot of the older data from company and private pensions will be visible on the dashboard.  

“But 2020 should at least give confirmation that the project is going ahead and enable the whole industry to focus on delivering it.”

There will be multiple dashboards, some which will be publicly owned and others commercially owned.

The pensions industry has already started to trial pension dashboard models and more are expected to be tested in 2020, according to the Department for Work and Pensions.

While some in the industry are disappointed that pension dashboards have been delayed, Nathan Long, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown said he was pleased as it gives providers more time to prepare.

Mr Long said: "I’m delighted we’ve not seen delivery of a pension dashboard. The freeing up of data looks set to revolutionise financial services in the years ahead, so rushing a half-baked version would have been counter-productive. 

“The dashboard project has the potential to re-connect people with their retirement savings. Whilst this may start off as a turbo-charged pension finder service, it should by no means be the limit of the dashboard’s ambitions.”

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