2018

16 August 2018 – We can’t let Britain’s savers down

Royal London Chief Executive Phil Loney speaks in the business slot on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme about their 2018 Interim Results.  Asked (at 1:23:00) about current sources of uncertainty, Phil identifies Brexit and Government policy on pensions, in particular the pensions dashboard.  He says “there are still some big holes in Government policy and the pensions dashboard is a really important requirement for people to save effectively and get value for money.  We hear rumours that the Government might not now be willing to back it because it doesn’t want to take on another big initiative – we can’t let Britain’s savers down: we’ve got to find the legislative time to address these issues“.  Royal London also headline this issue in their LSE Results Announcement.

 

15 August 2018 – Dashboard was always destined for disaster

In a Money Marketing article, Thameside Financial Planning Director Tom Kean argues that the dashboard initiative was always going to falter due to complexity, cost and consumer lack of demand.  He says that putting together an amalgamated interpretation of a person’s pension assets takes qualifications, years of experience, and lots of time – it simply isn’t possible to do this with a dashboard with the range of pensions out there.

 

13 August 2018 – Calls for a rapid DWP response

Two well known industry commentators (John Lawson and Henry Tapper) both call for a rapid feasibility response from the DWP.  In a Money Marketing article, John says if the dashboard is to be a success it absolutely needs government involvement, with the ideal situation being for government, regulators and industry to work together.  In a blog article, Henry says dashboard services should be both “high integrity” and “high impact”, best achieved by a public private partnership.

 

10 August 2018 – Demand for online pension data

Further evidence that there is strong, and growing, demand amongst UK citizens to see their pensions information online: Professional Pensions reports the results of their Freedom on Information request which revealed the number of views of online state pension forecasts grew by 36% in a year – from 3.3m in 2016/17 to 4.5m in 2017/18.

State Pension Forecast increase graph

 

8 August 2018 – Petition debate in Parliament

As the number of signatures in support of 38 Degrees’Don’t scrap the pensions dashboard” petition reaches 130,000, a Retirement Planner article explains that the topic can now be considered for debate in Parliament (having passed the 100,000 signatures threshold).

 

25 July 2018 – Complete misalignment with younger generations

In a powerful article, City A.M. Features Writer Katherine Denham sets out why dashboard is one of the most common sense ideas to come out of Government, and why it would be crazy to ditch it.  She ends by saying: “If the dashboard is indeed sent to the scrapheap, it will be another example of the Tory party’s complete misalignment with the views and values of younger generations“.

 

24 July 2018 – Lords question

In House of Lords Oral Questions (on the final day of Parliamentary business before the House rises for summer recess), Labour Lord McKenzie of Luton asks “What progress has the Government made towards establishing an online pensions dashboard?

In response, Baroness Buscombe, DWP Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, confirms that the Government is “currently exploring the many complex issues associated with developing a pensions dashboard: our feasibility work is nearing completion and we will report to Parliament in due course“.  Parliament returns on Tuesday 4 September.

In answering a supplementary question, the Baroness states that “we are working through the options around scheme participation: the decision whether to compel participation depends on a number of issues, such as the functionality, delivery model and governance of the dashboard.  We will set out the Government’s view in due course”.

 

23 July 2018 – Mainstream coverage and petition update

The rumoured scrapping of the pensions dashboard initiative is covered in articles in the mainstream Sunday press including the Sunday Express and the Mail on Sunday.

Meanwhile, over its initial weekend, 38 Degrees’Don’t scrap the pensions dashboard” petition secures 80,000 signatures, and the number continues to increase.

 

18 July 2018 – No decision yet made

At a hearing of the Work and Pensions Committee, the Pensions Minister Guy Opperman is questioned about the previous day’s report in The Times but states that no decision has been made about how pension dashboard services should be delivered.  He reiterates the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s enthusiasm in 2016 for dashboard services, but says the DWP’s feasibility work is a perfectly legitimate consideration of how the service should be provided and the way ahead.  Once decisions have been made, they will be communicated: the Minister hopes this will be fairly soon, certainly this year.

Meanwhile, numerous organisations publish statements in support of the dashboard initiative, including the ABI and the PLSA who say that:

ABI – It is vital the Government stands by its promises: the pensions industry is committed but we need Government involvement to ensure the system works fairly for everyone.

PLSA – It’s vital the Government sticks to its word: the industry is strongly behind this initiative and we fully expect the Government to continue leading on the dashboard.

And the campaign website 38 Degrees launches a campaign addressed to the Secretary of State: “Don’t scrap the pensions dashboard“.

 

17 July 2018 – DWP’s position

DWP’s long awaited feasibility report, “for release shortly”, is due to build on the initial industry-led pensions dashboard work and to establish a path towards delivery.

However, an article in The Times, reports that the Secretary for State for Work and Pensions Esther McVey is said, by sources, to believe that the pensions dashboard service should not be provided by the state, with an announcement due after the start of Parliament’s summer recess on Tuesday 24 July.

 

5 July 2018 – Income target should be included

In their major Hitting the Target report, the PLSA recommend (amongst several other key measures) that new retirement income targets should be displayed on pensions dashboards, and that there should be at least one high-profile dashboard hosted by a major public body, such as the single financial guidance body.

 

3 July 2018 – Government and multiple dashboards

A Professional Adviser article reports how the ABI Head of Retirement Policy Rob Yuille called at a recent conference for there to be both a government dashboard and multiple commercial dashboards.

 

2 July 2018 – Data littered with errors 

In a Daily Telegraph article, Experian is reported to have found that one in eight pension records have the wrong address attached to them in one large pensions database.

 

29 June 2018 – Better to wait and get it right

In a BusinessNewsWales article, Quantum Advisory Partner Stuart Price argues that it’s important not to rush the dashboard development and risk making a mistake; the right thing to do is take the appropriate time to ensure we get it right first time.

 

22 June 2018 – Feasibility study for release shortly

In the response to the Work and Pensions Committee’s Report on Pension freedoms (published on 5 April – see below), the Government confirms that the DWP’s feasibility study is for release shortly.

 

18 June 2018 – Majority consumer support for single dashboard

The People’s Pension publish a press release summarising their research findings that seven out of 10 UK workers with a private or workplace pension want a single pensions dashboard to help them keep track of their savings, with nearly half admitting that they don’t know how much they’ve saved for their retirement.

 

18 June 2018 – Getting it right first time

In a Professional Pensions article, Stephanie Baxter discusses the increasing argument that the dashboard’s launch should be delayed in order to get it right the first time around.  However, if there is a delay beyond 2019, it should not too long as savers are crying out for the dashboard.

 

14-15 June 2018 – Dashboard challenges

Two Money Marketing articles set out two key challenges dashboard will face:

 

12 June 2018 – Scale testing complete

Following their scale analysis paper in April (see below), Origo publish a press release announcing that they have successfully scale tested their dashboard infrastructure for the anticipated usage by 15 million active consumers.

 

8 June 2018 – Automatic enrolment providers keen to engage

In their Engagement Deficit report, ShareAction find that, subject to further future clarification, nine of the largest automatic enrolment pension providers intend to supply member data to the proposed pensions dashboard.

 

6-8 June 2018 – Pre-feasibility industry views

Ahead of the publication of DWP’s feasibility report due this month, various commentators publish views about dashboard.  One key point on which all parties agree is participation by schemes and providers must be mandatory.  However, there’s a major point of disagreement over whether there should be a single or multiple dashboards:

  • Retirement report: In a suite of recommendations accompanying their 14th annual Retirement Report, Scottish Widows state that people will lose confidence in the dashboard if some schemes or plans are missing, so the priority for the dashboard’s first phase of delivery should be for it be fully populated with all defined benefit, defined contribution, public sector and state pensions.
  • Industry survey: In the results of an industry survey, TISA also finds overwhelming support for mandatory pension provider participation to ensure full coverage, but with nearly three quarters of respondents preferring a multiple dashboard solution over a single dashboard.
  • Press articles: In a Professional Adviser article, Space Managing Partner Marilyn Cole writes that we need really firm commitments from all government departments and regulators to get all pension information on to the dashboard and not just the pensions for the younger defined contribution and auto-enrolled generation.  And finally, in a Pensions Expert article, Andy Tarrant (Head of Policy and Government Relations at The People’s Pension), writes in support of a single, public-good dashboard, as called for by the Work and Pensions Committee but at odds with the TISA findings above.

 

1 June 2018 – Dashboard case study

My personal case study is published on page 18 of the June 2018 edition of Pensions Aspects magazine from The Pensions Management Institute (PMI) (screenshot below).

Dashboard case study 18 19Dashboard case study 20 21

 

22 May 2018 – Support from new ACA Chair

The Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA) elects Jenny Condron as its first female Chair.  In a press release commenting on her election, Jenny highlights the importance of the pensions dashboard initiative: “If we can make headway supporting initiatives like the dashboard, then we’ll achieve a great deal”.

 

21 May 2018 – Parliamentary questions

Adam Afriyie and Jeremy Quin, Conservative Members of Parliament for Windsor and Horsham respectively, ask the Pensions Minister some questions about the pensions dashboard in Parliament.  As well as congratulating Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on their wedding at the weekend, the Minister confirms his view that a properly constituted dashboard, developed in collaboration between the FinTech industry and Government, can help nudge people to save more and deliver great progress for everyone in the UK.

 

15 May 2018 – A user-managed solution

In an extended press release, Origo Managing Director Anthony Rafferty and Chief Architect Kenneth May describe how the relatively new User-Managed Access (UMA) open security standard could allow dashboard users to control who can access their pensions data and for how long.  This, they argue, would create a better user experience which would enable consumers to become better engaged with their pensions.

 

8 May 2018 – An extremely useful tool

In its final report, A New Generational Contract, the Resolution Foundation’s Intergenerational Commission states (albeit on page 187, 85% of the way through the report) that the pensions dashboard will provide an extremely useful tool for individuals to track their various pension pots and their value.  The report goes on to say, however, that individuals would be better served if it were also easier to consolidate pots.

 

26 April 2018 – Alignment to MOT and revised communications

The ABI five point plan, launched at their Retirement Interventions and Innovation Event in London, states that pensions dashboard content should be integrated with the Mid-life MOT.  Dashboard services should also be aligned to a revised suite of tailored and phased pension communications which are given to citizens throughout their lives.

 

18 April 2018 – 15 million dashboard users?

The financial press reports on a recent analysis paper published by Origo which found that pensions dashboard services will be attractive to approximately 13-15 million people.

 

5 April 2018 – Work and Pensions Committee report

The House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee publishes its Report on Pension freedoms.  The report states that the case for a publicly-hosted pensions dashboard is clear cut.  The case for multiple dashboards hosted by providers is far less convincing and would add complexity to a problem crying out for simplicity.  The report goes on to recommend that the Government should mandate all pension providers to provide the necessary information to a single dashboard operated by the new single financial guidance body, over a phased implementation period to be agreed.

 

4 April 2018 – Feasibility report expected in due course

A DWP spokesperson is reported in New Model Adviser as saying that the update on its feasibility work, originally planned to be published in March 2018, will now be published “in due course”.  The report is due to build on the findings of the initial industry-led work and will seek to establish a path towards delivery of pensions dashboard services.

 

26/27 March 2018 – Self-employed TechSprint

A two-day innovation event is run at Aviva’s Digital Garage in Hoxton exploring ideas for making retirement saving more accessible for Britain’s 5 million self-employed people.  The TechSprint challenges teams of experts to develop practical interventions, focusing on the roles that technology, pensions dashboard and open banking could play in helping the self-employed build later life financial resilience.  Of nine competing teams, the overall winners propose using open banking to smooth out irregularities in self-employment income while also earmarking rainy day savings and long term savings.

 

1 March 2018 – Vision for dashboard uses

In an extensive Professional Adviser article, Dunstan Thomas Retirement Strategy Director Adrian Boulding sets out a vision of the multiple potential uses of pensions dashboard services in the fullness of time.

 

28 February 2018 – Raconteur special report

Writing in a Raconteur special report on workplace pensions, mallowstreet Chief Executive Stuart Breyer argues that the ways in which the industry facilitates retirement saving (including pension dashboards) need to be easy, simple, personalised, intuitive and rewarding.

 

27 February 2018 – Scottish political endorsement

Delivering a keynote speech at the ABI Annual Conference, First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon endorses the “hugely beneficial impact” of the pensions dashboard initiative, in particular mentioning the role played by Edinburgh-based Fintech Origo.

 

20 February 2018 – How to make it work for consumers

Which? publishes an extensive policy report, authored by independent consultant Dominic Lindley, setting out a suite of 12 recommendations for taking forward the pensions dashboard initiative, most importantly: comprehensive coverage, consistent display of pension information and control of dashboard providers.

 

9 February 2018 – If we build it, will they come?

In a New Model Adviser article, Copia Capital’s Malcolm Small envisions a future world where pensions are discussed at dinner parties.  He concludes, though, that it remains uncertain whether pensions dashboard services will finally engage UK consumers, but, if we don’t build the dashboard, we’ll never know.

 

7 February 2018 – Origo comment on CSFI report

Flagging the recent Dependency Trap report from the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation (CSFI), the new Origo Managing Director Anthony Rafferty comments, in an Actuarial Post article, that it’s important to get the dashboard basics right (for example, robust identification and pension finder services) so that firm foundations are laid on which dashboard services can be developed.

 

6 February 2018 – Open banking: the pre-cursor to open pensions

In two separate articles, Experian’s Richard Howells and Dunstan Thomas’ Adrian Boulding set out how open banking, which went live in January, is the pre-cursor to a new world of “open pensions” in which pensions dashboard services will dramatically enhance consumers’ retirement experiences as well as providing significant opportunities for product providers and advisers.

 

17 January 2018 – Infographic of “Big DB”

Using data from Pension Funds Online, Professional Pensions Editor Jonathan Stapleton uses Infogram to publish an online infographic of the UK’s 20 biggest funded DB schemes.  With total assets between them of approximately half a trillion pounds, these 20 schemes would make an excellent set of early dashboard volunteers.  In particular, between them, they utilise all the major defined benefit administration systems (from which data would need to released for display on dashboards).