Pensions Dashboards legislation faces delay amid Brexit uncertainty – AJ Bell comment

Tom Selby
4 April 2019

The Department for Work and Pensions has today responded to its consultation on delivering Pensions Dashboards in the UK.

You can read the full consultation response here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/792303/government-response-pensions-dashboards.pdf

Key points:

•        Government confirms plans to compel schemes to feed data into Pensions Dashboards
•        However, Brexit means proposals could be delayed beyond 2019
•        Private sector providers will be allowed to offer Dashboards in the initial testing phase
•        State pension information will be included ‘as soon as possible’
•        DWP envisages the majority of schemes providing information to Dashboards in 3-4 years
•        Dashboard delivery group led by the Single Financial Guidance Body will have key role in determining how information is presented to consumers

Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell, comments: 

“Introducing Pensions Dashboards has clearly been shunted down the priority list as the vice-like grip of Brexit on Parliament grows ever tighter. 

“In the current political climate there is no guarantee the Pensions Bill needed to compel schemes to provide data to Pensions Dashboards will see the light of day in 2019.

“However, the fact the policy has attracted cross-party support suggests it is likely to become reality eventually – we just don’t know who will introduce it or when.

“Nonetheless, Dashboards represent a potentially significant positive step forward, both in terms of uniting people with lost pensions and boosting engagement over the longer-term. Over time Dashboards could potentially expand to include other savings vehicles and financial products, effectively allowing people to see all of their finances in one secure place.

“The DWP’s pragmatic approach towards early testing is sensible, although care will need to be taken to ensure users are fully aware of the limitations of Dashboards. Ultimately this will be a starting point for most people in engaging with their retirement pots, rather than an all-singing, all-dancing solution. 

“Government, regulators and industry should seize the opportunity provided by the launch of Dashboards to review the behavioural impact of presenting information to customers in different ways. 

“The current disclosure regime creates unwieldy packs of pensions documentation which very few people engage with in a positive way. By focusing on simplicity in the initial roll-out of Dashboards, we hope the DWP is lighting the way for a more fundamental rethink of retirement disclosure generally.”

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