The public just want a pension dashboard


Gregg McClymont and Darren Philp


Yesterday afternoon was busy but I had time to catch a headline in Professional Pensions

 Lords pensions bill amendment could confirm single dashboard approach, says TPP

I’ve retained the original article as a PDF and here is how it appears.

A small amendment to the pension schemes bill on 8 June has been labelled ‘significant’ in meeting criticism of the pensions dashboard and could confirm a ‘water-tight’commitment to run a single dashboard, The People’s Pension says.
Director of policy Gregg McClymont said he believed the amendment made
by Lord Young of Cookham to clause 122 of the bill this week would oblige
the Money and Pensions Service (Maps) to provide a single dashboard and
see out terms laid down in the clause.

McClymont said the wording within the clause was changed from ‘may’ to
‘must’ regarding specific functions and delivery of the dashboard.
Clause 122 of the bill states that as part of pensions guidance function, a
single financial guidance body must provide information about state
pensions, basic and additional retirement pensions, and state pension
information relating to an individual by means of a pensions dashboard

McClymont said: “This is very welcome and suggests that cross-party support
is building to ensure that a commitment on government to deliver a single
dashboard is written into law. The public – as the government’s own research
confirmed – is more likely to trust a non-commercial dashboard model.”
He added: “There was much criticism of the dashboard clauses during the
bills Lords second reading and it is notable that a senior government peer
has now tabled an amendment to try and ensure the bill contains a watertight commitment to publicly run single dashboard.”

By the time I finished my meetings the headline had changed and so had the story

Lords pensions bill amendment sparks confusion over dashboard approach

The breaking news was that the original report had sparked confusion over whether it could confirm a ‘water-tight’ commitment to run a single dashboard.

The reason I’ve retained the original of the article was because I had written to Gregg McClymont wanting an explanation for a story I couldn’t understand.

It appears I wasn’t alone. The later version of the article suggests the first  “has sparked confusion over whether it could confirm a ‘water-tight’ commitment to run a single dashboard”. It now concludes..

Smart Pension director of policy Darren Philp said: “We have a very different understanding of the amendment. All this amendment does is to simply say that the Money and Pensions Service has to provide a dashboard.

This is our understanding of government policy, so all this does would enshrine that in law. It says nothing about single versus multiple dashboards and we are pleased that the government’s approach is for multiple dashboards.”

Smart got there before me and I’m glad it did, the original story was just another attempt by a lobby group to rubbish private sector innovation in favor of a centralized approach. Anyone who has had to manage their medical records online knows that a centralized approach to data and document management is not something that the Government does well.

It is irrelevant whether the MAPS or private sector approach is trusted more. If there is no dashboard in place the public will trust nobody. 

We are a demand not a command economy!

The Government’s position has been to first build the minimum viable dashboard within MAPS and then allow the private sector to develop alternatives, each private dashboard working to the data standards established by Chris Curry and the steering group and delivered by MAPS.

But of course there are prequels to the dashboard. The public has a taste for seeing all its pensions in one place and has a reasonable expectation of seeing all its pensions in one place. Where there is demand , supply will follow and organisations like my own are laboriously finding pensions and helping people see their entitlements on one screen so they can make informed decisions on how to consolidate and how to convert pension pots into retirement plans.

Since the dashboard steering group has been unable to publish a delivery timeline, even for a minimum viable product, the private sector has assumed that it will not be able to build from a MAPS dashboard for several years. The development plans of the kind of innovative Fintechs that work in this space are rarely longer than five years. This means building on the assumption that the MAPS dashboard will arrive too late for the needs of the 650,000 people who get to 55 each year.

For firms like Zippen, AgeWage , Pension Bee, Profile Pensions and others, the MAPS dashboard is already going to be delivered too late. The reality is that pension dashboards are germinating now to meet public demand and have been and will be tested within the FCA’s Sandbox before Lord Young will even get the Pension Bill to Royal Assent.

While Gregg McClymont may hanker for the delivery of public services at the command of Government, the private sector innovates. Smart Pensions is a prime example of innovation and I’m pleased to see that Darren Philp was able to put the record straight with Professional Pensions.

Let’s just follow the agreed plan

If we had adopted the path of open banking and agreed a series of pension data sharing protocols in 2016-17, Origo would now have built the architecture for finding pensions and we would have the dashboard in the palms of our hands – today.

Instead the DWP and the Treasury argued over ownership, proto-types were built and ignored and experts spent days in conferences arguing over projection assumptions, the inclusion of DB CETVs and how to include DC pensions disgraceful tail of 42,000 micro schemes that may never share their data , it being so poor.

The result is that we are still awaiting the next consultation and we are still to see a timeline for delivery of the MAPS minimum viable product. This is what happens when with a  command economy and it’s why the demand of ordinary people to see their pots in one place is not being met.

Every time that the single dashboard lobby intervene, there is more confusion, more delay and the interests of the dashboard consumer are further prejudiced.

Can we please let Chris Curry and co get on with their laborious job so that we can see a dashboard delivered within the next five years. If we continue to argue over a pin, we won’t see a universal dashboard this decade.

In the meantime, the innovators will have to get on with things with no help from Government at all.

About henry tapper

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