Opperman warns providers on dashboard

Opperman warns providers on dashboard
Guy Opperman, pensions minister

Pensions minister Guy Opperman has urged providers to start preparing their data for the anticipated arrival of pensions dashboards.

Mr Opperman stressed that providers should start preparing for dashboards sooner rather than later as they must ensure the data being submitted is secure, accurate, and user-friendly.

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.

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The government confirmed in 2018 there would be multiple pension dashboards, and suggested the first one, developed by the Money and Pensions Service, would be ready to launch in 2019.

But no dashboard has yet been launched after Brexit and a general election delayed the Pensions Schemes Bill, which introduces rules on pensions dashboards.

The second reading of the Pensions Schemes Bill is now scheduled for next week but Mr Opperman has said providers do not need to wait for this legislation to start getting their data ready.

Mr Opperman said: “Dashboards will bring pensions into the digital age and transform how we all think about and plan for retirement.

“Pensions schemes can’t just wait for legislation, they need to improve their data quality now so that it is ready.

“Dashboards will help savers therefore it’s in everyone’s interest that pension schemes are getting accurate, up-to-date information in place to help to ensure the new services work well.

“This is consumers’ data and people should be able to see it in one place when they want. Protecting their data will be paramount, and increased online transparency will give savers a greater sense of control as well as improving their understanding and awareness of their pensions.”

Scottish Widows said it was already at the stage of supplying data in real time.

Pete Glancy, head of policy at Scottish Widows, said: “We’ve been involved since day one in building the prototype and have been supplying data in real time from our systems for the demonstrations, so we are ready when the dashboard officially launches.

“People now have an average of 11 different jobs in their lifetime, which could mean having 11 different pension pots to keep track of. The pensions dashboard should help people to be more engaged with their retirement savings.”

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.

Andrew Tully, technical director at Canada Life, said it was difficult for providers to start preparing for the introduction of these dashboards as it is not known what data is needed and when they are likely to be introduced.

Mr Tully said: “It’s not yet clear what data will be required for the pension dashboards and the timescales required as key decisions have not been made around coverage, inclusion of state benefits and how it is accessed. Canada Life will make sure the required information is supplied to help our customers plan their retirements.