Nearly half (42%) of trustees and pensions managers admit that they are not aware of when their scheme’s pensions dashboard staging date will be, according to polling by WTW. Furthermore, over a third (37%) are aware of the timings but are concerned that they may not be able to achieve the requirements in time.
For many pension schemes, dashboard deadlines are drawing near. Despite ongoing government and regulator-led consultations, larger schemes and master trusts will start linking up to the dashboard’s ecosystem – known as ‘staging’ – in April 2023, just over a year’s time. Medium sized schemes will follow a year later, from April 2024.
Jane Murray, Managing Director, Technology & Administration Solutions, WTW, said: “Although the regulations remain in draft, and consultations are ongoing, it’s unlikely that the requirements will fundamentally differ from those we have sight of now. Meeting the criteria required for dashboard’s integration will require more commitment, information and collaboration than any previous change the pensions industry has seen.”
Furthermore, two-thirds (64%) of trustees and pensions managers surveyed are concerned about the accuracy and availability of relevant data that will be needed to complete the process.
“There are some knotty issues which pension schemes need to resolve before staging, such as calculating and providing estimated retirement income (ERI) values, and so it’s very important that all the underlying data being used needs is accurate,” said Murray. “But the good news is that most of the data schemes will need to meet the dashboards’ requirements will already be available to them via their existing data reporting.”
WTW recommends several practical steps that schemes can take to prepare themselves for staging, such as continuing to cleanse their data, plotting the steps that need to be taken in order to meet staging obligations, assessing whether there are benefits to staging early and communicating plans to members.
“It’s important to continue data cleansing so that you can match up members ‘find’ data, i.e. data that matches or partially matches a member’s personal details; and their ‘view’ data, which is shown on the dashboard, including ERI values. Accurate data will be key to schemes’ success in this area and identifying any data gaps now and digitising any data still held in paper files will help as staging deadlines loom closer,” said Murray.
“Pension schemes should be having early discussions with their third-party administrators and systems providers to establish how they can make sure their scheme can meet the technical standards and is ready for connection when the time comes, as well as ensuring they understand their data-readiness.”
Despite the challenges faced by schemes to meet the dashboard criteria, over half (52%) of those surveyed thought the biggest benefit of the dashboard would be pensions scheme members’ ability to finally see all their pensions information in one place, while a quarter (24%) thought the biggest benefit would be enabling more accurate retirement planning.
“The good news is there’s light at the end of the tunnel for savers,” said Murray. “With any kind of initiative of this magnitude, a huge amount of work needs to happen behind the scenes. But pensions dashboards have been created to help members to keep track of their pension pots across all their historic employment as well as their state pension entitlement. For the first time people will be able to log into one platform and view all their pensions in the same place, and that can only be a good thing for people’s financial wellbeing and peace of mind.”