Pensions minister Guy Opperman has announced plans for multiple pension dashboards to be set up as a partnership between the government and the pensions industry.
Earlier this year there were fears that the dashboard project would not go ahead as Works & Pensions Secretary Esther McVey appeared to rule out any government involvement.
But now Mr Opperman has revealed the results of feasibility report which recommends that there should be a ‘non-commercial’ pension dashboard hosted by a government financial body ‘offering an impartial service to those who prefer it, or who may not be targeted by the market’.
The scheme could be up and running in 2019 with the phased introduction of other schemes expected to take between three and four years.
In one place
The idea of a pension dashboard is that savers will be able to see all of their entitlements in one place.
The Department for Works & Pensions has said consumers will benefit from a range of dashboards to choose from and that they will work with the industry ‘to include state pension information at some stage.’
Said Mr Opperman: “Plain pensions information at the touch of a screen will ensure better-informed, more engaged savers and help many more people to plan effectively for retirement.
“Bringing pensions information into the digital age has the potential to revolutionise the way we all think about and plan for later life. People, young and old, should have all the help they need to get ready for retirement and maximise their pension incomes and, working with industry, we will ensure they do.”
“In the internet age, people expect information at their fingertips. When it comes to crucial information such as pensions, people should have access to accurate and useful information, which alongside guidance or advice will allow them to make the best choices for their investments and retirements.
“Harnessing the power of technology to give people easier access to their information will help them be more informed when planning their retirement – one of the most important financial decisions in a person’s life.”
The report calls for the formation of a delivery group comprising experts from the industry and government to create the technology needed to make the dashboards operate.
It will be overseen by The Single Financial Guidance Body (SFGB) which will ‘help to ensure that the industry safely and securely deliver its part in making dashboards happen’.
The government has also said it is prepared to legislate to ensure pension providers supply data to consumers via the dashboards.
State pension information will not be included at launch, though it will be included later. In the meantime, there will be a separate link to a different site which allows savers to check what state pension they will be entitled to.
An idea of the scale of the task was revealed when the report said more than a quarter of the workplace pensions in the UK – a total or more than 10 million – were with 90 different master trust schemes, but will be relatively easy to include in a short period of time.
More difficult will be public sector pension schemes, defined benefit and DB/DC hybrid schemes which are expected need more time to prepare their data before participating.
Consultation on the government report is open until January 28th.
Kay Ingram, director of public policy at LEBC, sees a single dashboard as a way of thwarting pension scammers who have tricked some consumers into losing an average of £91,000 of their pension savings.
She said: “We recommended that each consumer and each regulated adviser should be given a PIN with which to access the dashboard. By restricting access to those with a PIN, unregulated fraudsters would not gain access.
“This could still work with multiple dashboards, but unless the public are clear on how many there are, multiple dashboards could make it easier for criminals to trick the public into divulging their personal data.
“Security of data will be key to giving consumers confidence to use the dashboard to plan their retirement.”
The scheme was announced at the same time as a report which claims 28% of people expecting to retire in the next five years have no idea how much money they have in their pension pot. The same survey found that 33% of those spoken to did not believe they would have enough to live on in retirement.
LV retirement director Steve Lewis said: “Entering retirement should be an exciting time, but our research shows this doesn’t automatically mean this group is confident about their retirement plans—both financially and emotionally.”