“Administrators already have concerns that even if all of the above items were available immediately, then their other commitments are such that they would not be able to deliver for a 2023 implementation date,” it stated.
Industry shares ‘sense of urgency’
Nigel Peaple, director of policy and advocacy at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association, concurred with the points raised in the SPP’s letter.
“As the PLSA has previously stated, we estimate that large DC pension schemes will need around two years from the date when all the requirements are settled to the point when they will be ready to join the dashboards infrastructure. DB schemes are likely to need longer,” he said.
Association of Consulting Actuaries chair Patrick Bloomfield agreed that the industry “urgently needs clarity on the key components pension schemes need to prepare, to have a fighting chance of covering the ground needed to launch dashboards when planned”.
“What we don’t want to see is government blaming industry if dashboards struggle to ‘go live’ on time, when the reality is that industry didn’t get the information it needed to be able to,” he said.
Aegon’s head of pensions, Kate Smith, told FTAdviser's sister publication Pensions Expert that the industry needs “full clarity [...] ideally this year” if it is to meet the deadlines set for implementation.
Meanwhile, Jason Whyte, associate partner at EY, said that all the questions raised by the SPP derive from the fact that “most small pension schemes are not set up to share member data electronically with and via third parties”.
He said: “The SPP letter makes the point that the key challenge lies in its long tail of smaller schemes, many of which are run on older technology with little or no digital capability.”
While the larger commercial schemes have begun to engage already, “the smaller players lack the capacity to run ahead of clear rules and regulations”.
Benjamin Mercer is a reporter at FTAdviser's sister publication Pensions Expert