Progress on the pension dashboard

The Government have many pension initiatives on the go, but the one that has caught the popular imagination is the pension dashboard. We like the idea of having a pension finding service that allows us to see all our pensions in one place. We worry that we may have forgotten pots of money and for many of us , that will be the case, back in 2019 , the Pension Policy Institute estimated that we’d collectively lost £20bn – it is likely to be a lot more today, especially as many of us are auto-enrolled into pensions without ever noticing where our payroll deductions are going.

The problem is that we were promised this dashboard would be ready three years ago and we’re still waiting for something to download on our phones, PCs and Macs. This is a progress report, not from the people who are managing the pension dashboard project but from someone who is as frustrated by the slow rate of progress as anybody else!

The key date for dashboard delivery is known as the DAP or “dashboards available point”. That’s the day when the Pension Dashboard Program (PDP) considers that most people find enough information from a pension search to consider the dashboard “good enough”. Obviously this won’t mean that some people won’t find all that they want but this is a case of perfect being the enemy of good. The PDP tell us that it’s carrying out testing to find how near to perfect, the dashboard has to be go live.

Working backwards, quite a lot is happening at a technical level

The PDP is in its develop and test phase which started in September and runs through to summer 2022. It incorporates the discovery phase with Capgemini and Origo and initial (alpha) testing.

PDP has chosen to work with Aviva, Bud and Moneyhub as potential dashboard providers, during its initial test phase, which runs until next summer. The three organisations will help refine the onboarding process and develop technical standards.

The Pensions Dashboards Working Group at PASA has published initial guidance on the choice of data matching convention (DMC) schemes must make ahead of their compliance with the upcoming pensions dashboards legislation.

What this means is that PDP is on track for their delivery timeline. This has the DAP in 2023 and business as usual for pensions dashboards in 2024

Delivering five years late is about par for a large Government infrastructure project but it’s disappointing nonetheless. Some lost time occurred because of delays in the enabling legislation which formed part of the Pensions Schemes Act 2021. The Bill was debated through the Covid period and met with strong opposition in the Lords where several peers expressed concern that the dashboard could be misused by scammers and unscrupulous advisers. There has been extensive argument (primarily among actuaries) about the way that pensions and pension pots are projected into the future. More recently there has been concern from public sector pensions that whatever displayed will be changed by McCloud, GMP equalisation and other arcane pension disputes.

But my progress report would not be complete without a hat-tip to the team at the Pensions Dashboard Program who carry on regardless and who produce regular newsletters which are easy to read and genuinely informative.

The  Pension Dashboard Program will deliver a first “not for profit” dashboard to be run by the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) and other commercial dashboards will follow. These dashboards will show people just about everything other than pensions in payment and will do so at no cost to the user.

They will be of great help to people approaching retirement, who will be able to use them to plan ahead, combine pension pots and choose how they turn pots to pensions and how their pensions will pay them a wage in retirement.

They will help younger people avoid “pot proliferation” by enabling them to combine pots thus avoiding pots decaying due to unnecessary charges and untended investments.

They should also help people feel more in control of their retirement finances, allowing them to better plan for when and how they are going to retire. This may mean working longer, saving harder or simply settling for less but at least people will have the information on which to take these decisions.

Having campaigned for pension dashboards since they were first mooted 20 years ago, I have a reasonable expectation of seeing them in my working lifetime. As I am increasingly referred to as an “industry veteran”, that is some comfort. But it shouldn’t have taken this long!

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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2 Responses to Progress on the pension dashboard

  1. John Mather says:

    “ I have a reasonable expectation of seeing them in my working lifetime.” A triumph of hope over experience?

  2. John Mather says:

    You may be helped in the dashboard development as in a recent survey 18% of recently retired found it helpful to take advice If only more in the accumulation phase took advice the average pot size could be increase to take the average income to at least a living wage.

    In 2020 the writing was on the wall, down sizing expressed in terms of the cost of the replacement house an in crease in discretionary income and more favourable IHT outcomes could be achieved by a change of tax residence. At the same time general well-being is significantly improved and to navigate this a new relevant service can be provided

    As the second edition, it also highlights what has changed since a year ago, when COVID-19 was a dominant factor:

    55% (37% in 2021) are retiring earlier than planned, with the top reason to make the most of their time following the pandemic. One in nine gave not wanting to commute as the main retirement motivation.

    20% (37% in 2021) are retiring later than planned, with the top reason being not having saved enough and not wanting to retire during the pandemic.

    66% (56% in 2021) of retirees do not plan to give up work completely, with 24% saying that they will work part time to support themselves,

    15% continuing to work for their own business, 14% would be volunteering and 12% wanted to start their own business.

    The ‘non-retirement retirement’ may be related to only 25% (30% in 2021) that felt very confident that they had saved enough to fund their retirement. The fall from 2021 is suggested to be due to the rising cost of living – 27% said they did not know how to mitigate the impact of inflation on their retirement income.

    The same financial concern probably underpins the 72% who say they are planning to relocate on retirement, including 31% who intend to downsize.

    The average pension pot was £385,000 (£366,000 in 2021), but 21% of retirees had less than £100,000.

    For 20% of retirees, the main source of income is state pension. Others said savings/investments (15%), defined benefit (DB) pensions (13%), private pensions (12%) and defined contribution (DC) workplace pensions (12%).

    While 56% of retirees hope to pass on wealth, only 23% feel confident about how they can do this. 9% had already started making gifts to cut their inheritance tax (IHT) bills, but only 20% had made a will.

    Of those who retired in 2021, 40% found they were spending more than anticipated, with the main reasons being supporting family members (BOMD – bank of mum and dad – again), health costs and energy bills.

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