The government has just set out its new timescales for the Pensions Dashboard (31st January 2022).
First announced in 2016 with a proposed launch date of 2019, its now planned to be onstream by 2024. According to the announcement, pension schemes will be required to provide details to the dashboard in stages.
State pension details will be available day one, bigger schemes with over 1,000 members will have until September 2024 to provide the information. Schemes between 99 and 999 members will have until October 2025 and small schemes less than 100 members will have until sometime in 2026.
The Dashboard only will hold information about pensions which haven’t been drawdown in the initial phases in order to act as an overall directory to help people track down their pensions in one place. It has always been an ambitious project but one that is needed in the digital age. There will undoubtedly be problems with the supply of information in certain types of schemes including final salaries and many public sector schemes.
Thank fully the government has announced that “qualified” pension advisers will be able to access the dashboard on behalf of their clients. This will be done by cross referencing pension specialist permissions for advisers against the existing FCA database. In additional there will be access for the Money and Pension Service to provide guidance services, although access criteria are still to be finalised.
As we’ve said not all pensions will be included. Those which have become annuitized and those which are in drawdown won’t be included.
To help with Pension Advice, it’s good to see that project is still moving forward there had been fears that it would be shelved because of costs.
Looking at the market reaction to the news it seems that pension savers are looking forward to the new changes. In the latest surveys over a third of savers said they would switch providers if they could see the level of charges between providers in one place. 15% even said they would move if a provider had an easy-to-use website or even an App. It seems that the Dashboard will also be designed to include a limited number of comparing factors including charges, investment performance and data access. 40% of pension savers said they would move of they could see benefits, on the other hand another 40% said that they wouldn’t have a clue how to decide whether to switch.