At some point over the past few years , the dashboard stopped being a place to see pensions and pots in one place and became an open university designed to educate rather than inform.
On the day the Pensions Minister was announcing the drop dead point for dashboard data was now 31st October 2026, the Pensions Regulator was urging industry professionals to consider the way we should be presenting pension projections.
The advert is illuminating
“Pensions Dashboard V1” as PASA is calling the “early” version of the dashboard (eg the one we won’t be getting for three years or more), is about “looking after the scheme”.
The implication is that pension dashboards should be taking into account pension scheme rules and we are invited to think of pension schemes abandoned on the platform and in need of care and attention. This is putting the scheme before the member.
It is scheme members who are the victims of these ongoing delays and the issue they face is too little information and too much education.
Herein lies the tale of where it all went wrong
We have become obsessed with the risk of showing people what they have got, for fear they will misinterpret the information. So we are trying to build guidance around that information – the subject of the seminar. Here is the Pension Regulator’s call to action
Join Geraldine Brassett and Paul McGlone, members of the Client Experience Sub-Group of the PASA Pensions Dashboards Working Group, at 11am on Thursday 8th June for the launch of new PASA Guidance on value data for pensions dashboards.
Trustees, managers, administrators and providers of UK registered pension schemes will be responsible for making value data available on pensions dashboards. PASA recognises there’s a need for ‘good practice’ guidance to deal with a number of common issues which arise when deciding how to approach and calculate value data.
Phase one of this guidance will be released on 8th June and covers 20 frequently occurring issues affecting DB and DC Schemes including late retirements, retirement ages and Additional Voluntary contributions (AVCs)
Join us for the launch of the Guidance to find out what is covered, how to use it and what comes next.
Not much came next!
What came next was a delay of a year in getting data on the dashboard. Any momentum behind developing dashboard services has been dissipated and the 20 frequently occurring issues in question will remain discussion items for many further webinars.
These minutiae as deemed important to “look after schemes” and the inference is that if the dashboard does not answer queries from savers about these issues, then the dashboard will be creating more work for scheme administrators.
So the dashboard becomes a source not just of information but a kind of pension open university.
We should never have allowed the dashboard anywhere near these 20 rabbit-holes. That we did is down to the lack of leadership shown throughout which has lost focus on what matters to people – finding pots and seeing all pensions in one place.
By loading up the dashboard with all this paraphernalia , we have sent it to the back of the queue of Government priorities. We have blown it – because we are obsessed with pensions and not people.
All that we need is the pot and the pension
The idea of combined forecasts of what we get has been knocking around since 2002 and has always been wrongly conceived. What people want to know is what they’ve got to date rather than a projection of future value.
People want to know what they are likely to get in the future but accept that this is down to markets, inflation , mortality and a bunch of other factors that mean that at best the future is a good guess. What people have got today should not be a guess, it should be available with a swipe of a finger.
If finding out what has happened to their money to date makes us curious to know what will happen later, then we can consult advisers, modellers and the free guidance from the Government to do so.
But the priority of the dashboard V1 is not to provide an open university of pension knowledge designed to answer all the frequently asked questions, it is to let people see their current pensions net worth on a single screen.
Most of all, the pension dashboard is not about pension schemes. The schemes that stand behind the promotion of pots and pensions are only a click away but they are not important to ordinary savers, they don’t see schemes, they see pots and pensions.
Every vested interest in the pensions dashboard wants to protect itself, that goes for the ABI, PLSA, TISA and PASA as well as TPR and FCA. Already we have volumes of regulatory guidance to prevent the risks of showing people pots and pensions on a single screen.
Against all this is the harsh reality that no one is seeing anything called an official pension dashboard for several years,
We should stop prioritising our time worrying about pension dashboards and get on with other more important priorities, helping people turn pots to pensions, making sure that DB pensions get paid, improving the value of people’s money.
So if you didn’t make PASA’s session on the “client experience”, don’t worry. Get on with the things that really matter. We don’t need a pensions open university, we need open pensions and pension pots that can be seen on a phone.
We should not abandon the dashboard, it is needed more than ever. But we need to acknowledge that we’ve gone very wrong and scale back the ambition we have to educate rather than inform.