I think there are three main principles that must underpin (the dashboard’s) whole design.
Firstly, it will need to be open.
No single dashboard can meet the needs of millions of people who all have very different individual circumstances. There is definitely no government website that could do that either. There is no monopoly of wisdom.
The dashboard needs to be an infrastructure of open standards – like a common language and system for finding, collating, and sharing pension information.
And it should be open to a range of companies who can meet basic standards of security and data protection – including banks and fintechs, not just pension providers.
They should be able to access its information to deliver the products or advice their customers ask for.
Secondly, the dashboard needs to be flexible.
It is unrealistic to expect every provider to be ready to contribute the same data to the dashboard at the same time.
It is probably impossible to present all the different types of pensions in exactly the same way. And who knows how technology or other changes might transform pensions in the future?
The infrastructure therefore needs to be built in such a way that it can adapt and expand over time
It cannot be a single, monolithic IT platform set in stone forever.
Finally, the dashboard needs to be reliable.
Because if we want to encourage people to save more, then they need to be able to trust in pensions. That starts with people being able to access basic information, across all their pension pots, without having to pay to do so.
There’s nothing wrong with charging for useful services – be it advice, savings plans, consolidation services or other possibilities that don’t yet exist.
But we need to get the free provision of the basic information right, and make sure it’s consistent across different types of pensions. The State Pension will be a part of that.
And I’m keen to see the whole industry work together to set the minimum standards for how data is shared.
We want that process to happen through the excellent voluntary collaboration we’ve seen to date.
But if there are difficulties getting everyone on board, then we’ll certainly look at legislation or regulation instead.
So I would encourage everyone to start on this as soon as possible.
And two years later the wheel has turned full circle
Esther McVey MP, the work and pensions secretary, said on September 4th 2018:
“The pensions landscape is transforming and the dashboard offers a great opportunity to give people straightforward access to their pension information in a clear and simple format – bringing together an individual’s savings in a single place online.
“It’s clear there is broad support for the concept of a dashboard and its potential to empower those putting money away for their futures.
“By taking a leading role, and harnessing their knowledge, industry can develop a dashboard that works for pensions holders – and government will help facilitate this.”
The government is therefore giving backing to the idea, if led by the pensions industry
There is nothing like wasting 2 years to bring home to people the futility of politics!