Research from the Pensions Management Institute’s (PMI) latest PMI Pulse survey reveals that pensions professionals are overwhelmingly sceptical that the industry will deliver the Pensions Dashboard by the target date of 2023. More than three quarters (78 per cent) of respondents stated that they were not confident that the Pensions Dashboard will be completed by 2023 as pledged.
The survey shows that only 56 per cent of respondents believe that their scheme or the scheme they advise will be able to provide the required data for the Dashboard in 2023. This compares with 36 per cent of respondents who doubt their scheme can provide Dashboard data in two years. This suggests there has been a significant loss of confidence that schemes will be able to provide the data for the dashboard ahead of the deadline.
Over half of respondents to the PMI’s survey (51 per cent) think the resources required to deliver the dashboard is the main obstacle to their scheme providing data for the dashboard on time with just under half of respondents (46 per cent) citing cost as the main obstacle to their scheme meeting the deadline. The quality of data needed is also an obstacle for 44 per cent of respondents, and 39 per cent see the format of the data required as an issue.
Despite concerns over the Dashboard, the PMI’s survey uncovered a general satisfaction with recent pensions regulation. More than six in ten (61 per cent) of respondents were satisfied with the direction of pensions policy over the last six months. The actions of the Pensions Regulator over the past six months also received general approval as 62 per cent of respondents were satisfied with its activity. Looking forward, a majority (57 per cent) are also confident that the Pensions Regulator will focus on the right areas in the second half of the year. Half of the respondents (50 per cent) are also optimistic about the direction of policy over the next six months.
A key policy area identified by the research that could be addressed in this period is the Chair’s Statement for DC schemes, following the DWP’s recent Post Implementation Review on DC governance requirements. The review recognised that the current requirements for the Statement are not working well, and that further work is needed to address concerns raised in the review. Based on responses to the survey, the most popular idea to improve the process would be to divide the Statement into two separate documents; one to be consumer-facing and the other to record a scheme’s regulatory activity.
Lesley Alexander, President of the Pensions Management Institute, says: “The introduction long-awaited Pensions Dashboard will be a seismic shift in the pensions industry. Hopefully, it will lead to a significant increase in the public’s engagement with their pension and allow for more effective retirement planning. However, our research suggests the industry faces some significant hurdles before it is launched. The main stumbling blocks are likely to be the cost of providing the data and the resources required. Despite these challenges, the benefits of getting the Dashboard over the line ought to outweigh the cost of its development. To ensure the Dashboard is delivered efficiently, it is important that the Pensions Dashboard Programme works closely with all those involved in the industry in meaningful collaboration and sharing best practice.”
Tim Middleton, Director of Policy and External Affairs at the Pensions Management Institute, says: “There still seems to be no clear agreement as to what kind of service the first version of the Dashboard is to provide: whether it will it seek just to trace where members’ accrued benefits are held or provide information about the benefits themselves remains unclear. Resolving this would at least provide some clarity for the public.”