Ian McKenna’s dashboard rant gets a huge “like”

Ian McKenna

I didn’t realise I had as much in common with Ian McKenna  – nearly 5,000 linked in connections it seems! Those bonds were cemented yesterday when Ian posted this great comment on my blog on pension dashboards.

Wholeheartedly agree Henry. Dashboards should have focused on auto enrolment DC schemes from outset and then been Expand it to take in a wider set of pensions.

From a technical perspective this could all have been delivered at least five years ago. Equally reading some of the responses published in the last week same pension providers, predominantly trust based DC DB schemes are now squealing that they need another four years to deliver this. That was the same message they were delivering in 2016, so basically they have sat on their hands and done nothing for six years. bluntly it’s the trustees of the schemes that are more interested in looking after themselves than the members they are supposed to represent. Totally shameful.

The problem is the TPR are really nice people as a regulator, too nice. If this had been handed to the FCA or better still for CMA, as happened in Open Banking this would all have been dealt with years ago.

Delivering a viable DC dashboard could be achieved in less than six months if there were the industry will, but there isn’t.


Squeals from the Pension Industry

Benjamin Mercer’s thrilling newsletter to the industry seems to have some sympathy with my and Ian’s view,  the motor-scooter analogy harks back to PP’s “fast moving actuary” column.

The pensions industry has been told by all and sundry , but especially the Pensions Minister, to get its act together as long as we’ve had Guy Opperman in charge.

The revelation that dashboards will actually have to carry information about people’s pension entitlements seems to be “news”. That bringing pensions into the 21st century calls for a rethink (in any quarters) is hilarious. What message do pension schemes think they are sending to their members?

Blessed are the public servants, who will get fat-arsed pensions and the cushion of McCloud. Their pension administrators want a dashboard exemption until they can work out how to present the hideously complex choices of (1) a fat arsed pension and (2) an even fatter arsed pension.

So here’s the LGA waving its big stick

“Public pension officers  call for public servants to boycott public dashboards!”

Let’s be clear, if the people who run LGPS don’t want their members seeing their pension rights on a pension dashboard , then good luck to them. LGPS have generally got private pensions too, should they ignore their DB pots because they can’t be certain of what they get from DC pots?

And good luck to the pension lawyers who think they can get their clients indemnities for putting crappy data or no data on the dashboard – I hope the ABI’s response  is getting as much of a chortle in Caxton House as it clearly is at the FT.


The whinge-fest

Meanwhile the PLSA are calling for three tests to be completed before the Dashboard Availability Point is reached and we are allowed to see our pension entitlements on a single screen.

..there is widespread industry concern around liability for incorrect or misinterpreted information, and significant doubts whether its launch is achievable by the government’s preferred dates.

So Pension Schemes will be able to decide when they go live as “when we are ready” and even when they’re ready, they won’t take any blame for publishing dodgy data.


It (the PLSA) also flagged concerns around liability waivers, stressing that dashboards must clearly state that the figures provided are indicative, and schemes are absolved of all responsibility for decisions taken by savers.

Since all that members will see is a version of what these Pension Schemes are supposed to be showing their members anyway, it really is hard to see what people are worried about. Except perhaps people taking rubbish decisions based on their not finding their pensions in the first place.


The Society of Pension Professionals are worried that showing people what they’re got – and the risks they’re being asked to take, “could lead schemes to take a risk-averse approach that would be detrimental to savers’ experiences”. 

Better keep savers in the dark then.


Meanwhile consultants and administrators ISIO are worried that people will start asking questions about their pensions

“fearing an increase in member queries asking in particular why their dashboard did not match their individual scheme quote”

So much for wanting member engagement.


Even the normally common-sensical PASA were in on this last-minute liability minimisation mission

“it is vital that members understand that dashboard information may not give a complete picture of their pensions, and is calling for the government to publish its proposed liability model as soon as possible”

Like we’re going to forget about our buy to let because it’s not on the dashboard.


Finally , there appears to be a belated realisation among pension schemes that if everyone reports on pensions as they choose there will be dashboard mayhem. So they now – after 7 years of consultation – conclude that we need standardised reporting – which of course will lead to further delays.


We welcome the Government’s proposals for pension dashboards but…

We have been here before – last time it was banks – though they weren’t given the 7 year run-up the pension schemes have.

Pension schemes have had nearly a decade to consider how to get dashboard ready and pass on the costs to their customers. They have managed to kick the can down the road so far, but their comes a time when enough is enough.

The public were given to expect a dashboard by 2019 , an industry prototype was ready in 2017 and open banking has been available since January 2018.


Ian McKenna and the voice of reason.

The public is being held hostage by a lethargic, self-obsessed pensions industry for too long. Now they are having to wake up to some deadlines which are rather closer than they were in 2015.

They seem to think the only thing that matter is that they come out of the pensions dashboard smelling of roses and that this can be achieved by pushing the dashboard availability point back indefinitely.

Ian’s not having that, I’m not having that and I’m pretty sure the Pensions Minister isn’t having that either.

About henry tapper

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