Why the pension dashboard should accelerate.

dashboard ready

The Pension Management Institute  hosted a webinar last week featuring Chris Curry and his Dashboard Delivery team, hosted by Lesley Carline, the PMI’s president. It was a good hour with an excellent question process which led to an interactive session.

The slides should be available next week and I’ll post them on the blog using Slideshare You can access a recording of the website from the PMI and (if like me) you aren’t a member, you can become an affiliate for just over £7pm  by applying to membership@pensions-pmi.org.uk. I intend to sign up next week as the PMI is a good thing. I hope the PMI will make the recording of this seminar free to all – the event was too good not to share. I’ll still join if they do!

So what did we learn about progress?

The dashboard will be delivered in three stages. The first helps us find our pensions and see them in one place. Everyone I know thinks this is the biggest win as it addresses our “fear of the unknown” and our worry that we may have lost our pension.

The second goal is to understand what we’ve got. This is principally about finding out what our savings are worth as an income for life but this is a lot harder than it sounds. This is where the complexity kicks in and I’m hoping that the dashboard delivery group don’t get bogged down in difficult technical discussions. The dashboard won’t be doing all the calculations – that will be down to the pension providers.

The third and final goal is to get people who use the dashboard to act on their understanding , perhaps aggregating their pots, perhaps turning their pots into pensions. The dashboard delivery group really don’t want to be involved in this “Act” stage right now.

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The Pension Dashboard goals are very familiar to anyone who is involved in financial advice. They are the goals of any good adviser.


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It is easy to get bogged down in the dependencies and challenges. I don’t think that any of the bullets below are that challenging given strong leadership. The big challenge is in consultation, if the Government continue to consult on all these things we will be unlikely to see a dashboard this decade.

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There is one delivery partner missing from this diagram and that’s the general public. The delivery of the dashboard needs to involve the general public and I’d like to see some outreach to savers. This means that people like Martin and Paul Lewis , Ros Altmann, and other pension celebs need to be talking this up now. But the dashboard needs other delivery partners, influencers who can use social media to get popular support for finding and understanding pensions and acting on what the dashboard tells us.

The pensions dashboard is a sensationally popular pensions initiative and the public got genuinely excited when the idea was revived at the beginning of 2019.  But the timetable announced then has already slipped and patience for delivery isn’t inexhausable.

If the public knew just how little progress has been made on this project, they would be angry. Let’s start delivering on public expectations

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The diagram’s 20 years old and has been updated for workplace pensions. We know we have a complicated pension landscape but we also know that most people’s pensions are concentrated in a few arrangements , the state pension being the most important. Most people have the bulk of their retirement private income from a small group of providers. We shouldn’t be daunted by the complexity of the landscape, we should keep our eye on the prize of getting people going.d

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This is where the dashboard is currently getting bogged down – especially on question one. The problem is question one, I suspect that the delivery group are divided between those who want all 40,000 pension schemes delivering to the dashboard and those who are prepared to go live with say 80% of total data – with a goal of getting to 100% soon.

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I was really pleased by this brutal slide which shows that there is pragmatism emerging in the delivery group. The scope for stage one of delivery needs to be as narrow as possible. We need a minimum viable product with the balance being between minimum and viable.

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This is what all the arguing is going to be about. The grey shaded box represents the time for launching the minimum viable dashboard and the blue line shows how inclusivity increases in big jumps when the big players come on board. Romi Savova, who sits on the dashboard committee tells me that you could get to the plateau with only 12 providers. The time to launch the dashboard is at the point when future increases in inclusivity flatten off. Waiting till we get to 100% completeness (the dotted blue line) would mean waiting too long.

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There are excuses for the non-delivery between 2016 and today. But they aren’t good excuses. The Government is currently trying to get the pensions dashboard legislation to Royal Assent. This should not stop work on the delivery of the dashboard that needs to be pursued on a variety of fronts.

We are going to see a substantial change in public demand to find, understand and act on their pension entitlements as a result of this pandemic. The dashboard is now more important than ever,

But  recently the dashboard delivery group has decided to delay its current consultation till after lockdown.

I’ve said before that this is a mistake. COVID-19 has heightened people’s thirst for data delivered digitally and I just don’t understand why the dashboard delivery group isn’t being resourced to accelerate its work to make the dashboard happen sooner rather than later.

There really is no excuse for the current “go slow”, we should have our foot to the metal. Development of  the pensions dashboard should be accelerated as a result of COVID-19

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About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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