Author: Clare Stone
Today’s pensions landscape has changed significantly due to evolving pensions & social policy, greater job changes, and increased life expectancy. Unsurprisingly, retirement planning has also become more complex due to changes in pension scheme design and individuals accumulating pots from multiple employers.
According to Which, it is estimated that on average, a person in the UK may accumulate around 11 different pension pots throughout their working life.
What are pensions dashboards?
To tackle the complexity of managing multiple pension pots, the government and industry regulators are now working to introduce The Pensions Dashboard Programme.
Pensions dashboards will enable individuals to securely access a complete picture of their pensions information online. This will make it easier for them to manage their pension savings, effectively plan for retirement, and even reconnect with any lost pension pots.
When will dashboards become available?
The programme was originally set to go live in August 2023, with all pension providers required to be connected to the dashboards ecosystem either directly or through a third-party. However, the programme has been repeatedly delayed due to the difficulties in creating a secure platform capable of delivering real-time data, addressing regulatory regulatory concerns (particularly around data security), and dealing with other disruptions stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The mandatory launch date has now been postponed to 31st December 2026. Although this may seem quite distant, there is still an urgency to prepare sooner rather than later.
Schemes that are not dashboard-ready by the deadline could be fined up to £50,000.
Preparing for pensions dashboards
The Pensions Regulator has highlighted that there is now a roadmap for delivery and “it’s more important than ever that trustees and scheme managers start working collaboratively to progress dashboards quickly and efficiently”
Based on recent experiences helping clients design and implement pensions dashboards solutions, we suggest the following steps to accelerate the way ahead.
1. Identify connection deadlines
Various schemes, based on their size and type, will have different staging dates and connection windows for the dashboards. Ensure a well-structured plan in place to work towards meeting the necessary deadlines and achieving compliance.
2. Monitor dashboard developments
Stay up to date on standards, guidance and the latest dashboard developments. Responsibility for delivering pensions dashboards is spread across several organisations so there is plenty of information to be aware of. Some of the key parties can be found here:
- The Pensions Dashboards Programme is responsible for designing and implementing the infrastructure for pensions dashboards.
- The Department for Work and Pensions create the regulations around pensions dashboards. DWP legislation will also determine the conditions dashboards will have to meet to be a qualifying dashboard service.
- The Pensions Regulator is responsible for ensuring the trustees of occupational pension schemes comply with their duties to connect to the pensions dashboards ecosystem.
- The Financial Conduct Authority regulates providers of contract-based pension schemes. It will also have a role in authorising and regulating the operators of pensions dashboard services and their conduct.
3. Getting ready to connect
Decide how dashboards will be connected: directly or via a third-party.
- Direct connection – Start having open discussions with your software provider(s) around how they can help you connect.
- Third-party connection – Establish contact with third-party providers to discuss how they can assist you. Choose your matching criteria to be able to check if an individual has a pension with you.
4. Data quality is essential
Schemes must ensure they have accessible, accurate, and digitally available data to make the most of dashboards. The Pensions Regulator emphasises that robust data and reliable systems are crucial for informing savers about their retirement savings decisions. Given the volume of data involved, it is wise to prepare now.
5. Collaborate with key stakeholders
Engage with interested parties to identify the necessary steps for creating or refining automated calculations, which will facilitate the provision of pension information as required by the dashboards. Establish a timeline for each task brought together in a project plan.
How we’re supporting our clients
Several of our clients have already begun leveraging our services to kickstart their pensions dashboards journey. Here are some of the ways we’ve been supporting them:
Value Development: Pensions dashboards will show general information about the pension scheme, and it will also show certain values such as Annualised Accrued Value, Projected Income and Current Value. We are helping insurers produce the values required for the pensions dashboard portal within Mo.net.
Solution Design: We assist insurers in every aspect of solution design, ranging from the data required to feed the necessary calculations, to generating the metrics needed for meeting dashboard requirements.
Calculation Development: Our team are also working with insurers to improve their core model to carry out the necessary calculations needed to integrate with DataHubs and policy administration systems.
System Integration: More than often the required calculations are currently carried out in a spreadsheet or a technology that cannot integrate easily with DataHubs and policy administration systems. We’re helping our clients setup and implement platform components within their various environments.
Model Optimisation: We’re reviewing our clients’ existing Mo.net model’s performance, and providing comprehensive reports highlighting actionable recommendations to improve the model’s structure and function code so they can produce the calculations required quickly.
Training: Our aim is to get clients up and running with their new or improved solution as quickly as possible. We provide knowledge-sharing and training sessions so they can become self-sufficient in the projects developed when handed over.
If you need support in getting “dashboard-ready” we’d love to speak to you to discuss how we could help, so please get in touch.