The original concept of the pensions dashboard was to deliver a simple online interface to allow a user to view all their pension information in one place. This, it was believed, would increase individuals engagement with their pensions and stimulate decisions about their retirement.
A Troubled History
The pension dashboard concept goes back to at least 2002 (when it was known as the online retirement planner). Since then it has been canceled, re-named, revised and responsibilities for delivery have changed.
In 2018 Esther McVey, the then Secretary of State for Work and Pensions said ‘Government will facilitate industry’s development of a dashboard that works for pension holders’. The latest timescale for the introduction of pension dashboards is sometime in 2019.
The first launch of pension dashboards will not deliver on the original plan. They will not include state pension information and information on fees will be limited (if present at all). The original plan for one single dashboard delivered by government has been scrapped. Instead, there will be several versions of the dashboard delivered by pension providers.
In principle, the concept behind the dashboard is valid. Individuals tend to have several jobs over a working lifetime and therefore potentially several workplace pensions. Some of which may be active and some frozen. Some may be Defined Contribution plans while others may be Defined Benefit. Collecting and interpreting the information on those pensions to determine the total pension value can be difficult and time consuming.
Nobody can predict the future of the dashboard but it is clear the original concept has been compromised to a degree. Trust in the information delivered and its consistency across various dashboards will be key. Building that trust may be difficult when it is known commercial enterprises are ultimately responsible for delivery. Strict regulation will be in place but the trust issue may remain.
Dashboards are basically software products pulling information from various data sources. The collection and processing of that data is highly complex and it remains to be seen if functionality impacts on useability. Data privacy may also be a concern.
This blog is intended to provide a general review of certain topics and its purpose is to inform but NOT to recommend or support any specific investment or course of action. The past is not a guide to future performance. The value of investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Tax and financial regulations can change. Any figures quoted above are correct at the date of publication.