Transparency isn’t tactical! Thoughts on day 2 at PLSA.


The Pension Dashboard was under discussion again at the PLSA conference in Liverpool.

I am not clear from Opperman’ s words what has held up the publication of the DWP report on its feasibility , but that report is still not with us and it was due in March.

In the meantime , the messages get more and more obscure. Here is the ABI on the need for compulsory data

Yvonne Braun of the ABI says schemes need to be compelled to share their data with the Pension Dashboard. Earlier today, the Pension Minister did not commit to compulsion. #engagement

and here is the same ABI spokesperson saying that they don’t

Yvonne Braun of the ABI doesn’t believe that small pension schemes should be compelled to hand over data to the Pensions Dashboard.

— Josephine Cumbo (@JosephineCumbo) October 18, 2018

What people have a right to, under the Data Protection Act 2018, is the data that a third party has on you – and people have a right to it in machine readable format.

Which kind of trumps any special pleading from the ABI. The fact is we have a right to the information and people (like Alan Chaplin) are already testing that right and getting the information – in reasonable time.

What the dashboard does is to act an aggregator and an agent. As an aggregator it brings together data from a number of sources; as an agent – it acts for an individual at an individual’s request.

What the Government needs to do is to confer on organisations setting up a Pensions Dashboard, the power to act as an agent and the facility to make numerous data requests from a single request from an individual.

All that the Government needs to do is to address these questions. They do not need to build a dashboard, they need to make sure a dashboard works.

Transparency isn’t tactical

In a week when we learned from the PPI that £20bn is unclaimed by people with pensions assets, we also learn that we may be getting a new kind of pension statement.

single statement clear.PNG

Its simpler , clearer and more real but it is incomplete. It is incomplete because it doesn’t have the costs of the plan on the statement, you have to go somewhere else (see bottom para) and no doubt by the time you’ve waded through you’ll be sufficiently bamboozled you wish you’d never bothered.

I am told that the reason we can’t be told how much our pension cost us last year, is because of the ABI, the same ABI who want everything compulsory on the dashboard unless it’s too hard for a scheme to produce.

As with the Dashboard, the plan for the Single Statement is to give people an idea of what they’ll get in the future (point 3 at the top – in green). The ABI are very keen for us to know that we won’t have as much as we need and keen for the statement to solicit greater saving. Savings are good for the ABI – they make money on savings – that’s the point.

What neither the dashboard or the illustration are very good at – is giving us an idea of how we can have this money back – the spending. In fact – when you flip the statement to the back page, you don’t get much help on spending at all.

single statement clear 2.PNG

I’m concerned about that £752 pm. In particular I worry about this statement

When you turn your Pension Plan into an income, you don’t take a lump sum, you want the same amount of money each month, and you don’t want an income for anyone else after you die”

This is not what people want at all! They want a lump sum (tax-free), they want a wage for life that keeps its value despite inflation and they want to look after their loved one.

The £752pm looks a dodgy number to me, cooked up to keep everyone smiley – but easily sussed as a “wrong-un” by savvy punters. It’s the kind of number that brings illustrations into disrepute!

While I love the simplicity of language, the only thing that I am left with is the message that I can save more into the plan. The back page feels like an ABI sales aid- not a pension illustration.

I remain hopeful

Like my friend Andy Agethangelou, I am frustrated and optimistic. I’m frustrated at the slow pace of change but optimistic that change will happen.

The ABI seem to be standing in the way of change at every step, they are the one constant.

Those like Ruston Smith and Quietroom, who produced the statement, are to be applauded – they must be pretty frustrated too.

Guy Opperman sounds pretty frustrated, but like me and Andy, he sounds hopeful too!

Transparency isn’t tactical – you either are transparent or you aren’t.

Transparency isn’t a marketing tool , to be deployed as suits an organisation

Transparency is a state of mind – AKA – honesty and integrity.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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1 Response to Transparency isn’t tactical! Thoughts on day 2 at PLSA.

  1. Adrian Boulding says:

    I attended the Minister’s presentation in Liverpool yesterday. He had a slide headed Achievements. In the bulleted list was Pensions Dashboard.

    So that’s all sorted then!

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