The government has said it intends to have a prototype pensions dashboard by March 2017, and that it will consider regulating companies if they don’t volunteer to participate.
The pensions dashboard aims to make it easier for people to manage their savings – Photo credit: Fotolia
In a speech in London yesterday, economic secretary Simon Kirby said that the dashboard, which should be fully function by March 2019, would help people manage their pension – usually their largest financial asset.
“Financial decisions are complicated at the best of times,” Kirby said. “But what we can do to help is to make sure that people have the right information, in the right format, at the right time.”
With more information, he added, people can make better decisions on how much to save and what products to use. The aim of the dashboard is to bring this information together and make it easier to monitor savings and even make changes to it online or via a mobile app.
The dashboard will ask companies – including banks and fintechs as well as pension providers – to provide information for the dashboard.
Kirby said that the government wanted it up and running for consumers to use by 2019, and announced 11 companies that will be developing the prototype dashboard, to be launched as early as March next year.
These include Aviva, Aon, HSBC, Standard Life, Zurich and the government pension scheme Nest, with the project being managed by the Association of British Insurers.
Kirby said that there had been “excellent voluntary collaboration” so far, which includes the commitment from these 11 companies.
However, he added, “if there are difficulties getting everyone on board, then we’ll certainly look at legislation or regulation instead”.
Three working principles
Kirby said the dashboard – first mooted in the 2016 budget – would be built on three principles.
The first is that it would use open standards, with a common language and system for finding, collating and sharing pension information.
It must also be flexible, he said, noting that “it cannot be a single, monolithic IT platform set in stone forever”. In addition, it needs to be flexible in terms of and what and how companies add to the database.
Kirby said it was “unrealistic” to expect every provider to be able to contribute the same data at the same time, or to expect that the different types of pensions could be presented in the same way.
The third principle for the creation of the dashboard is that it had to be reliable.
“If we want to encourage people to save more, then they need to be able to trust in pensions,” he said. “That starts with people being able to access basic information, across all their pension pots, without having to pay to do so.”
He added that there was “nothing wrong with” charging people for useful services, but that basic information had to be free, and accurate, first.
The 11 organisations will now work to develop open, common standards and governance structures as well as how to overcome “tricky technical challenges”, said Kirby.
He added that pension providers interested in helping develop the dashboard could still sign up.