Pensions - Articles - Hymans Robertson and Zurich comment on Pensions Dashboard


Hymans Robertson and Zurich comment the Government’s Pensions Dashboard as the consultation closes

 Scott Finnie, Solutions Architect, Hymans Robertson says: “We fully support the Dashboard initiative. We were encouraged to see the consultation paper reflect that the Government has listened to feedback and put the benefits that could undoubtedly be experienced by consumers at its heart. The endemic lack of understanding and engagement that pervades society around retirement provision is something we, as independent consultants, have witnessed first-hand; the Dashboard is a very welcome move to tackle this. The proposed approach acknowledges and effectively balances several important considerations, not only asserting good consumer outcomes as the main purpose, but providing enough direction, such as on data standards and security, to enable industry-led Dashboard delivery.

 “Overcoming the difficulty consumers face in viewing their aggregate position, and taking an appropriate course of action based on that complete picture, is the obvious benefit of a Dashboard. To achieve this we are pleased by the proposed inclusion of state pension. It will be a significant portion of retirement income for many people, so its incorporation is critical to a meaningful view. The ability for consumers to see a clear target for retirement saving will also be key. We would expect that the Dashboard’s launch will be accompanied by an awareness campaign to encourage this as our experience shows that a target can motivate positive action. The Dashboard will also enable financial firms to develop commercial models that help consumers in cost effective ways, allowing them access to support and guidance that has, until now, been hard to find.

 “We applaud the government for recognising that standardising data access and security is a pre-requisite to enabling innovation in user experience. The Dashboard initiative will not be successful without an unambiguously defined data standard that is uniformly adopted and implemented without exception. With the architectural design principles proposed, standardised data access and security can be achieved, so creating the platform for innovation.

 “There are over 15 million members in Public Sector schemes so we are pleased to see their inclusion. No consumers should be left behind over the long term, so including Public Sector schemes is a must. Understanding the complexity that lies behind their participation will be vital for them to be incorporated successfully. The potential cost of implementation is a major concern and there must be understanding that a ‘reasonable timeframe’ will be needed to take account of the specific pressures on those running and administering public sector arrangements.

 “A working dashboard will be transformational in helping consumers across the retirement savings spectrum and we expect it to be a most positive pension development in a generation, second only to auto-enrolment.”

  

 Alistair Wilson, Zurich’s Head of Retail Platform Strategy, said: “Giving consumers a complete picture of their retirement savings could encourage more people to speak to an adviser about consolidating their pots, especially in the lead up to retirement.

 “A simple and easily accessible dashboard will help close the pension awareness gap and drive more consumers to engage with their savings, which could lead to an increase in demand for advice.

 “It’s also been estimated that a dashboard could significantly reduce the cost of advice by easing the administrative burden on advisers. This in turn could open up advice to more consumers.

 “We shouldn’t underestimate the ambitious scale of the dashboard development, and while a lot of detail still needs to be worked through, we are keen to see this progress quicker than the government’s current timetable.”

 In its response, Zurich called for the government to standby its promise of making it compulsory for pension providers to sign-up to the dashboard.

 The provider also urged the government to include state pension data from the start, as well as information on final salary pots.

 However, as a safeguard, Zurich said the government should be cautious about including defined benefit transfer values, which savers should be able to request via the workplace instead. Despite this, the dashboard needs to provide useful insights for savers in final salary schemes, it said.

 Zurich warned against excluding small self-administered schemes and executive pension plans from the dashboard, which would weaken the message around compulsion.

 It also called for the government to bring forward its plans for implementing the dashboard from the proposed three to four year timetable.

 Wilson said: “We agree that three to four years from the introduction of the first public facing dashboard is a reasonable timeframe for the majority of eligible schemes to be supplying their data to dashboards. However, our view is that timelines should be shortened to ensure appropriate focus across the industry.”
  

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