The pensions industry is still none the wiser as to when dashboards are expected to be available to the public as the Pensions Dashboards programme must still overcome data constraints, user testing and regulation delays.
In its first progress report on pension dashboards, published this morning (April 8), the Pensions Dashboard programme, established by the Money and Pensions Service (Maps), said although the industry has called for a clear delivery timetable with firm dates, it is unable to provide this at this time.
In the 31-page document, the group said it would look to provide certainty as soon as possible but the scale of the project, delays to regulation and trying to get all forms of data onto the dashboard have made this difficult.
But said it is optimistic that it will be able to set out a more detailed programme timeline before the end of the year.
Due to the scale and complexity of the UK pensions industry, the Pensions Dashboard programme said there will need to be a staged approach when onboarding providers and schemes to the dashboard.
But if a relatively small number of large pension providers were to join first then the majority of people’s pension entitlements would be available via dashboards relatively quickly, according to the group.
Dashboards will be ready to launch to the public once the group can be sure that they are secure, the user experience has been tested, user behaviours have been understood and any unintended outcomes are resolved and the service has enough coverage of pension memberships to meet users’ needs and be useful to a significant majority of people.
However, there are still a number of challenges to be addressed such as establishing a secure identity verification process so people have trust in the dashboard while also working out how to match people accurately to their savings and addressing the varying types and quality of data held by different providers.
The group said once the Pension Schemes bill, which is currently being debated in parliament and contains primary legislation on dashboards, is given Royal Assent the Department for Work and Pensions and the Financial Conduct Authority will consult on the development of the regulations.
Chris Curry, principal of the Pensions Dashboards programme at Maps, said: “The vision of the Pensions Dashboards programme could not be simpler - to enable individuals to access all their pensions information online, securely and all in one place, thereby supporting better planning for retirement and growing financial wellbeing.
“However, the delivery challenges underlying this vision are significant – even more so in the current circumstances. Delivering this valuable service for society will depend upon close collaboration across government, regulators and the pensions industry.”
He added: “Throughout the evolution of pensions dashboards, people have understandably wanted to know when they will be widely available for public use. Even when the impact of the coronavirus pandemic has decreased, timescales depend heavily on factors including technological developments and the progress of government legislation.