I agree with Anthony Rafferty , CEO of Origo, that the dashboard isn’t just for those drawing to the close of their working (and saving) career.
Rafferty writes in Professional Pensions Rafferty points out that
to argue against dashboard, based on the legacy data issues, is to ignore the power and good it can do for the younger generations, those who are newly enrolled or who will take out pensions in the future.
This set me thinking about the way that people I know in their twenties and thirties access information. It’s quite differently than the way I do it. They can source their answers as it pleases them , and increasingly they are being instructed by people who entertain them. This is why Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and even Snap – get the message across and static websites remain largely unvisited.
My worry about the thinking about a single dashboard – and that’s the prevailing model – certainly for the ABI, Origo and the DWP, is exactly Anthony’s. It is that in pushing for something that works for people as old as me (56 pushing 57), we exclude those who source information through push notifications that flash across their phones.
People don’t want “a dashboard” – they want what a dashboard gives them.
We have become so obsessed by the idea of a dashboard that we have forgotten that it is the benefits of easy access to data to make pensions easy and simple that we crave, not the means to get those benefits.
This is what makes Anthony’s approach refreshing. He is thinking not just about people like me but about people like my son, who at 20 – already knows just how important pensions are (he lost eight weeks of teaching because of the USS strike).
Most young people are more than aware that they are on their own when it comes to pensions. Surveys show that many have little confidence that the state will provide them with a pension (a sorry view which the Government is doing little to correct). Young people are keen on saving and – in my experience- have no difficulty locking money away for decades if they see the point in doing so. There are plenty of points in them doing so.
Which is why opt-out rates for auto-enrolment amongst those in their twenties are the lowest of any age cohort.
Imagine the frustration we are creating in our youngsters , by forcing them to start saving into a new pension pot , every time they change a job, and giving them no way to have a single view of both their old and new pots.
Imagine the frustration our (my) generation is giving our youngsters by not giving them a simple option when they look at their phones, to see what they have got by way of pension savings!
Imagine the frustration we are giving our children by not letting them swipe one pension pot to their new pension pot, as technology allows.
That’s what progressive pension organisations want to do.
There are plenty of pension providers gearing up for the needs of youngsters. If you choose to do so, you can sign up with Pension Bee and transfer into your account , pots from your workplace pensions – every time you leave an employer.
It’s not just Pension Bee, True Potential , Evestor and several other SIPPs are aiming to be millennial friendly. On the workplace pensions side, plans like Smart are making “open pensions” a possibility.
“Open Pensions” is the very opposite of the DWP’s vision of a single static dashboard and I suspect that Origo are probably as interested in helping people like me (at AgeWage) to help youngsters with Pension Bee, as to struggle with
“the issue of legacy policies, some still on paper / microfiche, which supposedly cannot easily be digitalised and so automated in order to respond to pension dashboard requests”.
A dashboard for those who want it and data for all
The DWP told Professional Pensions that 4.5 million state pension forecasts were viewed between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018. So a third of potential dashboard users are already getting information from the DWP’s static website.
I suspect that this is the number that would use a DWP pension dashboard. But what of the 10m+ that Origo class as dashboard candidates. Will they come to a DWP dashboard to find information on their private pension? I suspect that some will.
But I suspect that a very large number of pension savers will need more than a state run dashboard. They will avoid such a thing as they avoid Pension Wise and other state initiatives, not because they are state initiatives, but because they feel this is their money and none of Government’s business.
These people will continue to see MoneyMail and MoneysavingExpert and Mr Money in the Sun, as far more authoritative. If they could sort out their pension affairs and get a meerkat for doing so, they’d choose to do so. That’s not just because kids and grandkids crave meerkats, it’s because Moneysupermaket and Comparethemarket are the places most people go to , to do financial business.
It is the digital publishers and the digital transaction sites which offer most of us – the chance to sort out our insurances, our short term savings and to organise our utility payments. They aren’t getting involved in pensions, and – if you ask them – it’s because they are wary of pensions.
Pensions are inaccessible, misunderstood and too complicated for the price comparison sites.
We are asking the wrong question – we shouldn’t be asking for a dashboard for all, but data for all.
Organisations such as Origo are clearly beginning to get the message that not everyone wants their data delivered in the same way.
Anthony Rafferty dreams of youngsters seeing their pensions on a single screen, of managing their pensions with a swipe of their fingers.
He is right to be dreaming about young people. But I’m not sure that a single dashboard – run by the DWP – has much to do with fulfilling his dream.