“Fifty shades of nay” – how hard should it be to get digital access to your data?

Screenshot 2019-08-18 at 09.59.59.png

Providers are always finding new ways to stop AgeWage getting the data authorised us by letters of authority (LOA).

Even when an individual signs an LOA – and the insurer is legally required to act on it – the struggle continues. GDPR and the Data Protection Act were supposed to give people the right to the data held by others in digital format. It said nothing about what individuals could do with that data and did not stop individuals requesting data be sent to nominated third parties like AgeWage.

E- signatures are an example

Last year, the Law Commission came out with this statement

Following  analysis of the law, the Law Commission’s provisional conclusion is that an electronic signature is capable in general of meeting a statutory requirement for a signature.

In November 2018 it stated it

did not consider that legislative reform was necessary to validate e- signatures.

However, our experience is that the acceptance of e-signatures is patchy and we find inconsistency between departments and even between processes within a department.

This is leading to pension provider customers and their agents frequently being refused digital requests and being required to submit paper requests with lengthy time delays and considerable expense of time and postage.

Here are our findings based on the first 200 LOAs we have submitted, We have anonymised the providers because we aren’t into naming and shaming – but if we find cases of systemic obstruction , we reserve the right to do just that!


Pension provider interaction report

Here is a quick write up of some of the problems I have been having when requesting data.

Main provider pushbacks

FCA Verification issue

Issue – The major pushback from large providers is that they are unable to provide us with any info because we are not FCA registered.

This seems strange as we have been told an FCA registration is not required to simple request pensions data.

Lack of account number on LOA

Issue – Another major pushback from large providers is that they are unable to provide us with the info because there are no Account numbers on the LOAs.

This brings rise to the problem that a lot of people don’t know their account numbers.

Requirement of a wet signature

Issue – Some of the providers require a wet signature in order to process the request. This is instead of the predicted, digital signature that you can get on docusign. The problem therefore lies with how to get these in the best way possible?

LOA needs to be sent by post

Issue – Many companies require LOAs to be sent in via post. The issue arises here as the post is inefficient and arrival can always be denied. As you call to chase the posted LOAs, they usually can’t find any info on the customer or haven’t received any LOAs.

Post is also very hard to track.

Other problems

Issue 1 –

  • Hard to track progress. It is hard to track the progress of the requests for a few reasons 1. Post is hard to track 2. Replies can take a long time and are not consistent with time, ie 2 replies from the same company could come weeks apart.

Companies – all providers.

Issue 2 –

  • Provider not sending the correct data/not sending the data in machine readable format.

So far, we have had a lot of providers send us data which is unclear – for example lack of dates attached to the contribution history.

Others who send their data, send it in pdf/non machine-readable format, despite our request for this on the LOA.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
This entry was posted in pensions and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to “Fifty shades of nay” – how hard should it be to get digital access to your data?

  1. Eugen N says:

    Henry, welcome to my world. Who said this job is easy, and it could be done cheaply?

    Could you explain how AgeWage gets paid?

  2. henry tapper says:

    Currently AgeWage’s contracts are with insurers and commercial master trusts or with their fiduciaries, IGCs and Trustees. Over time we will build up a following on a web and phone based app which we hope will provide us with revenue over time.

    We are valued by Seedrs at around £3.7m pre-revenue and pre product – which suggests that the market sees our proposition as commercially viable – but there is much to do till we can say we have fulfilled that confidence.

  3. Robert Reid says:

    We recently had to apply to a Zombie insurer for plan details all they had digitally was date of birth and end date plus investments. Everything else was in paper records, in fact even with major insurers anything pre 94 is often on microfiche and that where any demand for e data is scuppered the DA 18 only forces e data when it’s held like that many forget that DA applies to paper too so a filter is needed if you don’t want to drown in paper.
    As to plan numbers that and date of birth are often the only data that up to date!

Leave a Reply