“Value for money is more than just an analysis of cost” – we are told
“Value for money is more than just an analysis of the money paid” – we are told
“Value for money is also about ‘quality of service'” says the FCA. Quality of Service is better tested by the member than relied on from an affirmative Value for Money statement -says AgeWage.
In this blog , I propose a simple test of service for the providers who receive letters of authority from AgeWage. We will, as well as telling you how your pot has done relative to the average pot, tell you the quality of service you have received – though you will be the best judge of that.
GDPR is our friend
Many people in business see the General Data Protection Requirement as restricting access to data, that’s because businesses want to see data that isn’t theirs. Infact GDPR is about giving people who own data access to what they own in digital format.
So far , organizing people to help themselves to the data they need has been frustrated by teething problems. These include
- concerns from both consumers and data controllers about e-signatures
- distrust of intermediaries (fears of scamming)
- Failures from data controllers in accessing data from their systems
- In some cases willful obstruction
When AgeWage conducted its initial data requests last summer, it was in a pre Covid-19 world. Over the past 36 hours 434 testers have signed off letters of authority to pension providers asking for the data for AgeWage to produce value for money scores and reports on their pension pots.
The test with in the FCA sandbox is primarily to understand consumer behavior so that AgeWage can use its scores in a responsible way both as an employee benefit and directly to consumers. But it is also a test of the capacity of pension providers to service the needs of their customers in a timely fashion.
Data readiness – the key test of quality of service.
I had a call with the Pensions Minister last Monday , at which he stated again that organisations cannot use the poverty of their data-readiness as an excuse for not co-operating with the pensions dashboard.
It is a commonplace that data is money and if data is unavailable so will be people’s access to money. If there is one quantitative measure for “quality of service” (the third leg of the FCA’s value for money formulation) it is data- readiness.
I have said that I intend AgeWage to be an independent arbiter of data readiness. If we do not get data on legitimate request in a timely fashion we will be letting not just the FCA know , but the Pension Dashboard Programme.
Despite many years notice, many data controllers still hide behind lame excuses for not having data ready. Where data is held within a trust, we will be escalating to trustees , when held within workplace and legacy pensions, we will escalate to IGCs and GAAs and where neither trustee or IGC is available , we will escalate beyond the data controller to the FCA.
Because AgeWage is independent, it is not conflicted. Nor is it intimidated. I agree with the Pensions Minister, not being able to provide data in a timely fashion is both a breach of GDPR and a breach of fiduciary duty. It is not treating members fairly, it is not treating customers fairly.
What you can do?
Anybody who wants to join our test group and be treated as part of AgeWage’s FCA sandbox test should contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We will add you to our 500 strong testers list.
If you want us to help find your (UK) DC pensions , analyse them for the value you’ve got for the money you’ve paid into them and get some bright ideas as to what to do next, can simply go to http://www.agewage.com .
We cannot promise you that getting your data will be easy, but we can promise you we’ll be honest and frank with you about the process we go through to get it.
We agree that quality of service is part of your test for value for money.
If you want to get an understanding of the quality of service you are getting from your provider, our test will help! Go to agewage.com and get started