Pension Dashboard  

Govt’s dashboard proposals cause widespread industry concerns

Govt’s dashboard proposals cause widespread industry concerns

The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association has recommended three thresholds that must be met before dashboards are introduced, but there are doubts about whether its launch is achievable by the government’s preferred dates.

The Department for Work and Pensions launched a consultation on its draft dashboards regulations in January that set out detailed data presentation and communication requirements, and reaffirmed the government’s commitment to having both ‘find’ and ‘view’ functionality at launch.

The industry has long been concerned that the workload entailed by find and view could make the proposed staging deadlines unachievable, while public sector schemes in particular are thought most at risk of missing their onboarding date.

The government acknowledged that dashboards may contain incomplete information at launch and set out ways in which schemes could mitigate any damage resulting from this. But the relatively vague wording around who has liability should incorrect information be presented, or were members to misinterpret the information when making decisions, has caused significant alarm in the industry.

PLSA recommends three thresholds for launch

In its consultation response, the PLSA recommended that the government and the industry agree to three “threshold tests” that must be met before dashboards are officially launched to the public.

It acknowledged that they would represent a “huge task” for the industry, but said they would be essential if dashboards are to launch successfully.

The three tests relate to coverage, accurate data matches and user understanding. 

First, dashboards should not launch until enough schemes are connected so that a “majority of savers” have the potential to match with their pension.

Second, data matching should be sufficiently advanced that a majority of savers will be able to see most of their pensions on the dashboards, while third, user testing should take place to build confidence in the system and ensure that savers understand the information presented, and are not using it to make inappropriate or mistaken decisions.

The PLSA estimates that clearing these three thresholds could take 12-18 months, which would place the launch date after the first round of schemes have connected in 2023, but it cautioned that it may take longer.

It stressed that, at present, the regulations do not provide sufficient support for schemes when it comes to data matching, and urged regulators to take a “highly pragmatic and supportive” approach to compliance and enforcement for the first 12 months following the dashboards availability point.

It also flagged concerns around liability waivers, stressing that dashboards must clearly state that the figures provided are indicative, and schemes are absolved of all responsibility for decisions taken by savers.

Nigel Peaple, director of policy and advocacy, at the PLSA said: “The draft regulations represent a big step forward for making pensions dashboards a reality. However, with a number of important outstanding issues still to be resolved, the existing timeline for launching public dashboards still looks highly ambitious.

“Extensive user testing will be needed to reach agreed quality thresholds so that savers are not immediately disappointed by a lack of information, or worse suffer detriment as a result of making the wrong decisions due to dashboards not being designed correctly,” he continued.