Today’s a big day out for the dashboard-istas!
Over the weekend , Theresa May linked herself to the pensions dashboard using the Daily Mail to pin her colours to the mast.
It is clear that the Pensions Dashboard is going to happen – the question is whether it will provide us with open pensions or be the love-child of pension- industry in-breeding.
A social start
It is encouraging that DWP are organising this using social media site “Eventbrite”. It suggests that whatever comes out of this morning, will at least have been launched using social tools. That it’s a private pensions event may smack of Sir Humphrey but the registration process got things off in the right direction. That I was invited is another step in the right direction.
I will be scooting (or Boris-Biking) back from Portcullis House to Bank for a slightly delayed Pension Play Pen lunch (we shall kick off at 1pm subject to me finding a rack for the beast). Details here Please join me for lunch if you want to get a first hand recounting of whatever in the meeting, I’m able to talk about!
Why we need open pensions.
If you read yesterday’s blog, you’ll know that the concept of the Dashboard put forward by Frank Field in his letter to Guy Opperman is the opposite of “open pensions”.
The demands for compulsory data clearance, a Government led governance body, regulatory permissions to run dashboards and worst of all a single pension finder service will be resisted – at least by me – and by all those who want to see open pensions.
We call on the Government to consider data and cash transmission between pensions as the way they did banking in 2016/17.
The system advocated by the ABI and others that seems so successfully to have lobbied the W&P Select Committee would decrease competition leading to higher prices for the consumer. We would pay dearly for a single pension finder monopoly – whoever it was given to.
If we are in any doubt as to what the lobby was, we need only read this article in Corporate Adviser. The demands come from the people at the front of the queue for the monopoly.
The cowardly justification for the atrophication of open pensions into what these people want is fear of scamming. Those who claim to be anti-scamming are quite happy to see its continuation – albeit in offshore havens such as the Isle of Man. If you don’t know what I’ m talking about , read Angie Brooks’ excellent new blog “Long Term Savings Pig” which names the names.
We heard precisely the same scare stories from the retail banks prior to the introduction of the CMA9. We were told that open banking would be a scammers charter, a year on and most of those spreading that message are trying to buy-up the challenger banks.
If they aren’t careful, the Starlings and Monzos and Revoluts will end up eating them.
The Queen of Open Pensions will be there.
I’m very pleased to find out that Romi Samova, the Queen Bee – will also be at the “private pension meeting”. Like me, she has no interest in keeping open pensions private, no interest in closed room roundtables and no time for procrastination.
Like me, she is shocked by the delays that have precluded firms like hers from developing the tools to help people find the £20bn in lost pensions.
Like me, she is anxious that the pot-proliferation that could see (using the DWP’s own estimates) 50 million abandoned pots by 2050.
Like me, she wants to see genuine support for the 94% of us not taking financial advice. What she is doing with her Bee-Keepers is a model for that kind of genuine support.
The exclusion of Romi Samova from the Round Table held for the Work and Pensions Select Committee is a crime against the entrepreneur, a spoke in the hub of innovation and an affront to the consumerism that Romi stands for.
Not a time to hold back
When people hear about the scale of the problem, they are shocked. Shortly before the meeting this morning, I will be on BBC radio explaining to the good people of Hereford and Worcester how it came about that one of their listeners lost his or her pension. When I quoted the PPI estimate that there is not one lost pension but £20bn of them, the program producer nearly fell off her chair!
I will not press the negative, I will point to the future and hopefully a brighter future for those of us baffled by the pension system.
To get open pensions, we need open practices. We need open meeting not closed round-tables, we need a proper consultation- as promised by Amber Rudd at the TISA conference but two weeks ago.
Most of all we need a Government not pledged to the lobby of those who want to keep pensions closed. I trust that in Guy Opperman and Amber Rudd – we have two politicians with the consumer – not the pensions industry – in mind.
Have a dashboard Christmas!