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Pensions Dashboards delayed until 2023

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28/10/2020
The long-awaited roll-out of Pensions Dashboards has been pushed back to 2023 – four years after the initial deadline for the scheme.

Pensions Dashboards will allow savers to view all their various pension pots in one place – including the government pension, workplace pensions and any private pensions.

Currently savers have to look at these pots separately, which can make it difficult to keep track.

The government’s objective was originally for the service to be available by 2019.

But Brexit, along with the complexity of designing an ‘all in one’ system means it is unlikely to be ready before 2023.

As part of the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) update published today, it has set out the following plan:

  • From 2019: Moving the programme from DWP to MaPs (completed)
  • Form 2020: Programme set up and planning, recruiting the team, agreeing the architecture, setting up working groups, seeking approval to commence procurement for a supplier or suppliers for the digital architecture and setting data standards.
  • From 2021: Develop and test phase. Build, integrate and testing the digital architecture. The first dashboard provider will also be chosen for user testing.
  • From 2022: Voluntary ‘onboarding’ and ongoing testing. Volunteer pension schemes and providers will be connected to the service, using real data.
  • From 2023: Staged ‘onboarding’ and dashboards will be made available. Schemes and providers will begin to be compelled to connect to the system by law. The number of pensions being findable will be sufficient at this stage.
  • Undetermined timing: Transition to business as usual. This phase assumes a high level of coverage, meaning that the service is running in a steady state. The timing of this phase is to be determined.

‘Half-baked dashboards would cause damage to the project’

Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell, said: “Rushing the introduction of half-baked pension dashboards would have risked causing terminal damage to a project which has the potential to revolutionise retirement engagement in the UK.

“Allowing people to see all their retirement pots in one place is a colossal undertaking, particularly when you consider the hotchpotch of different schemes that exist.

“While most modern platforms are well positioned to do this, some older-style pensions and defined benefit schemes are still administered using antiquated technology systems and therefore face a bigger challenge in supplying data. Ensuring this data is shared in safe manner has to be the number one priority for a project like this.

“Furthermore, without legislation in place compelling schemes to supply data there is a danger important sections of people’s retirement saving history would simply not be captured.

“If this were the case, it would risk undermining the legitimacy of dashboards in the eyes of users.”

‘Disappointing but worthwhile’

Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon, said: “Implementing pension dashboards is proving to be an extremely complex but worthwhile challenge as shown by the latest update from Pensions Dashboards Programme. The timetable has been pushed out by four years.

“Although this is disappointing, we believe the delay is worthwhile using the extra time to get things right. Pension schemes, providers and the State Pension won’t be compelled to connect to Pension Dashboards until 2023 which means that people will have to wait longer to re-connect with their pensions using dashboards.

“Critical mass is needed from day one, to allow people to find the majority of their pensions. Compulsion will be staged, and it’s important that given the extra time, the staging process is short to gain critical mass quickly and that this is continually monitored. Without this it runs the real risk that people will be put off using pension dashboards.”

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