13 April 2021 – Launch of procurement

Publishing an invitation to tender, the PDP launches the process to procure a supplier of the pensions dashboards ecosystem digital architecture. This includes the following technology components: Governance Register, Consent & Authorisation service, Pension Finder Service (there will be a separate procurement process for the Identity Service):

The PDP’s procurement timeline is ambitious, aiming to have appointed a digital supplier within five months, by the start of September:

1 April 2021 – Programme Director starts

The PDP tweets that new Programme Director Richard James starts today (scroll down to the 22 February entry for more details on Richard).

26 March 2021 – FCA on open finance

The FCA publishes a feedback statement on its Open Finance Call for Input, which ran from December 2019 to October 2020. As open finance develops, the FCA wants to help ensure that the needs of consumers are considered from the outset, with systems and standards designed with the consumer in mind. One of the ways the FCA will do this is by sharing lessons from the development of pensions dashboards.

24 March 2021 – Small Pots Group

In a press release, the PLSA and ABI announce the establishment of a group to move forward solutions to the small pots issue.

As set out in the December 2020 report from the DWP-sponsored small pots industry working group, matching and data standards for dashboards will be instrumental in helping with the small pots problem, and completing the dashboards legislation and implementation programme should be the first priority.

The new joint PLSA/ABI-sponsored small pots group will publish a summer progress report.

23 March 2021 – PwC practical guide

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) publishes a detailed practical guide, for pension schemes and providers, on how to prepare for dashboards, based on the information in the Data standards guide published by the PDP in December 2020.

19 March 2021 – SPP open letter

A Pensions Age article reports on some open correspondence between the Society of Pension Professionals (SPP) and the PDP. The SPP want urgent clarity on a number of issues including pension record matching, definition of the pension amounts to be displayed on dashboards, plus legal and technology requirements. They also want details of the staged implementation dates for the requirements on different pension schemes.

In his response, PDP Principal Chris Curry said the procurement for the digital architecture supplier(s) is due to commence imminently, enabling more detail to be added to the timeline. He also said PDP will soon be able to indicate when schemes will see technical specifications, and DWP aims to consult on dashboards regulations later in 2021.

18 March 2021 – New MaPS consumer brand

Exactly five years on from the 2016 Budget, when the Government first committed to making pensions dashboards a reality, the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) announces its future consumer brand. It’s MoneyHelper, meaning the MaPS pensions dashboard will be the MoneyHelper dashboard.

12 March 2021 – Onboarding update

The PDP Head of Onboarding Paul Noone provides an update in a blog article on the pensions industry’s data readiness and systems preparation for pensions dashboards, as well as thoughts on voluntary onboarding to the dashboards ecosystem (i.e. prior to the compulsion legislation coming into force).

10 March 2021 – 15-year TPR strategy

The Pensions Regulator publishes a 15-year corporate strategy through to 2035. The strategy says that, over this period, technology will drive and enable change in UK pensions. “The pensions system is overdue a technology-driven change and pensions dashboards may be a catalyst for accelerating the pace of this change [and] we expect dashboards to increase transparency and reduce the cost and effort of [members] making decisions”.

Importantly, a key graph in the strategy shows that defined benefit (DB) pensions will continue to dominate into the 2030s (this graph excludes public sector and state DB pensions):

2 & 3 March 2021 – Regulations timetable

In a written Parliamentary statement (made in the House of Commons on 2 March and echoed in the House of Lords on 3 March), DWP Ministers Guy Opperman and Baroness Stedman-Scott set out a timetable for regulations to be made under the Pension Schemes Act 2021. In relation to pensions dashboards, the statement says:

“We aim to consult on proposed regulations for pensions dashboards later this year and lay draft regulations before Parliament for debate in 2022. Delivery remains on track for 2023 in line with the plans published by the Pensions Dashboards Programme.”

2 March 2021 – Gen X research report

The International Longevity Centre UK publishes a new research report entitled Slipping between the cracks? Retirement income prospects for Generation X. The report highlights just how important pensions dashboards are going to be for people in Generation X (i.e. born between 1965 and 1980). At the report’s launch event, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Jonathan Reynolds MP says that, for pensions, “dashboards have to be the fulcrum of the answer to access and transparency”.

2 March 2021 – PASA Guidance note

The Pensions Dashboards Working Group (PDWG) of the Pensions Administration Standards Association (PASA) publishes a Guidance note and a 1-page flier for pension schemes, trustees and providers on how to start getting ready now for pensions dashboards.

1 March 2021 – Digital ID video case study

To support the debate about what level of confidence pension schemes and providers need in a dashboard user’s identity, I’ve published a pensions dashboards digital ID video case study (you can also click the graphic below to watch it on YouTube). Please ask any questions via my details on the Contact page. Many thanks.

26 February 2021 – ID market engagement

The PDP Senior Product Owner for identity, Jon Pocock, summarises in a blog article the identity industry’s response to last year’s market engagement exercise. The feedback from this engagement has fed into the PDP’s current Call for Input from data providers which closes on 19 March.

22 February 2021 – New Programme Director

MaPS announces in a press release that the PDP is to have a new Programme Director, Richard James. Amongst other things, Richard led the HMRC programme to introduce digital Personal Tax Accounts. Interim PDP Programme Director Jamey Johnson is going to NHS Test and Trace, with PDP Operations Manager Tim Reichardt covering until Richard starts in April.

18 February 2021 – Identity call for input

The PDP launches a four-week Call for Input on their proposed Identity approach. Data providers are asked to provide their views on the approach in responses to eight questions by Friday 19 March 2021.

11 February 2021 – Royal Assent

On Royal Assent of the Pension Schemes Bill, the pensions dashboards provisions become law in the Pension Schemes Act 2021. Pensions Minister Guy Opperman says in a DWP press release that “dashboards will hail a digital revolution for savers”. A blog article from PDP Head of Policy David Reid also provides an update on next steps.

8 February 2021 – ERI solution this year

PDP Principal Chris Curry gives an extensive interview to Global Government Fintech. Amongst various topics, Chris confirms that in 2021 “we want to work very closely with the DWP to make some really significant progress on getting industry engagement on how we are going to show [estimate retirement incomes] on dashboards”.

2 February 2021 – PLSA update

In an Employee Benefits article, PDP Steering Group member, and PLSA Director of Policy and Advocacy, Nigel Peaple confirms that, whilst the Pension Schemes Bill shortly becoming law is a reason for celebration, there is still “plenty more hard work to be done before savers finally get to enjoy the benefits of seeing all their pension savings in one place”.

26 January 2021 – PLSA policy priority

Pensions dashboards are confirmed as one of the 6 2021 priorities for the PLSA Policy Board. Small pot solutions, which will be dependent on dashboards data standards, are another of the six priorities.

25 January 2021 – A Living Pension

The Resolution Foundation publishes a report entitled Building a Living Pension, on how much a “living pension” for low to middle income (LMI) families should be and how much should be contributed to deliver that income in retirement . In the report, and its launch webinar, there is considerable discussion about the pros and cons of including the living pension amount on pensions dashboards.

19 January 2021 – Final Bill stages

A House of Lords debate considers Commons’ amendments to the Pension Schemes Bill. Both Houses agreed the text of the Bill, with Royal Assent awaited.

Looking ahead to the drafting of the secondary legislation (regulations) for dashboards, the Minister (Baroness Stedman-Scott) says the Government is prepared to “engage, engage and engage”. In particular, she commits the Government to tabling Written Ministerial Statements during the consultation phases, prior to debating proposed dashboards regulations.

13 January 2021 – Video case study

To support the debate about what information initial pensions dashboards should show, I’ve published a pensions dashboards video case study (you can also click the graphic below to watch it on YouTube). I’ve love to know what you think – let me know your thoughts via my details on the Contact page. Many thanks.

12 January 2021 – Look ahead to 2021

PDP Principal Chris Curry publishes a blog article looking ahead to 2021, covering the Pension Schemes Bill, procurement of the Pension Finder and Digital Identity services, research and pension scheme / provider onboarding.

11 January 2021 – Dormant assets expansion

HMT and the DCMS confirm that, whilst pensions dashboards will seek to reconnect individuals with their pensions, some types of pensions will be included in the expanded dormant assets scheme (i.e. where the pension’s owner cannot be located).

9 January 2021 – Partial matches

Sunday Times Money Editor James Coney starts the year with an article highlighting that pensions dashboards will be “as good as useless” if they can’t find your pensions.

This could be because of inaccuracies in one or more of the items of your personal information held by your pension schemes & providers, and which are used by them to match you to your pensions. Examples could be your Surname or Address being out of date.

This is a major challenge to be overcome by the pensions industry, working closely with the Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP).

The answer is going to lie in the development of secure and effective “close match” correction processes. For example, even if Surname has changed, National Insurance Number and Date of Birth may match, so this is a “close” but not a “complete” match.

Defining a secure way for the pension provider to update their records to hold the individual’s up-to-date Surname will enable the pension to be found and displayed on the individual’s chosen dashboard. It’s also a win-win for both the individual and the provider because the record keeping has been improved.