I’ve been pleased by a lot of pensions news this week, including the master trust authorisation of the Scottish Widows (formerly Zurich) master trust and – more importantly NOW’s master trust. The latter is especially gratifying as the millions of members , thousands of employers and hundreds of NOW staff depended on this news for future certainty. Well done to NOW and to new owners Cardano for turning this situation around.
Good news for choice
The retention of all the major master trusts through the authorisation process is important for the reputation of workplace pensions and for choice and competition. Had we no choice we would of course not need a pensions dashboard, we must remember the original conception for auto-enrolment was for a singe provider – NEST. While NEST is a great success, it is challenged not just by other master trusts but by contract based plans from a variety of insurers and the odd SIPP provider.
Choice means variety and that presents us with the challenge of seeing our various pension pots (both workplace and non-workplace) in one place. That is what the pensions dashboard is designed to do and that is what it will do – in time.
Dash back in the dashboard
It is taking too long to bring the dashboard to the people but when we see positive steps, we should applaud them. The appointment of Chris Curry as the Principle of this group was a positive step and the announcement yesterday of the dashboard ten – the steering group that will oversee the development of the dashboard is another positive step. I am really pleased to see that the Government has gone beyond the obvious representatives (ABI, PLSA, PASA and included people whose businesses are or have been based on the new technologies that underpin open banking . Step forward Romi Savova of Pension Bee, Samantha Seaton (MoneyHub) and Will Lovegrove (formerly Pensionsync).
The full list of those on the group – plus biographies is available here.
A proper steering group
There is nobody on this list that will not add value and it’s great to see people like Andrew Lowe and Dominic Lindley included as practitioners working for firms active in third party communications and employee communications. Yvonne Braun represents the insurers, Kim and Nigel occupational pension schemes standards while Dominic Lindley and Paddy Greene are championing the consumer.
This is a thoughtful, inclusive and bold list that I hope will speed up the delivery of the dashboard. If this is the first product of Chris Curry’s tenure, then it bodes well for the future.
In a separate blog, I have published the thoughts of Romi Savova on what should happen next. On these matters I take my lead from Romi and her team. Her contribution so far has been outstanding, her clear thinking and progressive approach to the delivery of technology will be particularly welcome going forward. She understands the problems of finding pensions better than anyone.
Will Lovegrove and Sam Seaton’s skill sets will be especially felt in part two of dashboard development when we move beyond finding pensions to integrating the pensions eco system so that we can see not just what we’ve got but how it’s doing.
A note on my recent blog on scamming the regulator
I know that some readers have tried to find this recent blog and found it is now password protected. I have been approached by the CEO of one of the companies mentioned who has asked me to take it down. I am currently not in a position to fight legal battles but I stand fore square behind the blog . If you would like to read it, then please explain why by dropping me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org and I will provide the password