Pensions dashboards: three key steps to success

Pensions dashboards will revolutionise the pensions industry, dragging it into the 21st century

Pensions dashboards: three key steps to success

Pensions dashboards are coming and will revolutionise the pensions industry, dragging it into the 21st century. They will change the way people interact with their pensions and, importantly, reconnect people with around £20 billion lost pots. It’s an initiative whose time has come and it is more important than ever as we look to get more people saving more and making better use of their retirement savings.

I was delighted to have a recent conversation (over Zoom, of course) with Chris Curry, Dashboard Principal at the Money and Pensions Service (MAPS), about progress to date from the Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) team and what’s in store for the programme this year. You can watch that chat here. Thanks, Chris, for taking the time to take part in our webinar series!

What struck me from that conversation was how far Chris and his team have come in a relatively short time and the huge juggling act they’ve had to play in kicking off and quickly scaling the programme to meet ambitious delivery times. I blogged in Professional Pensions that it was time to ‘raise a glass’ to progress so far and the latest updates just show how much is done and the ramping up of the programme.

Love them or hate them, pension dashboards are coming, and the industry will need to be ready to embrace providing data to dashboards when the time comes (which will be compelled by law) and also the potential for enhancing member experience and engagement that dashboards bring. It’s an exciting time for the project and this year will see a ramping-up of the procurement exercise and more details emerging about who will stage and when. It really feels like we are getting somewhere now, so what do we need to do to keep the momentum and ensure this first stage of the programme is a success? Here are my three key steps: 

  1. The programme has started ramping up its external engagement with stakeholders. This was much needed and is to be welcomed. Regular communication and engagement with the industry are crucial to the dashboard’s success and, after what was admittedly a rocky start as the dashboard team focussed on setting up the programme, it is great to see the information flows improving massively. This needs to continue.
  1. We shouldn’t let the best be the enemy of the good… We’ve all got views on what should and should not be included on the dashboard. For example, my strong view is that costs and charges need to be on there. But we don’t need to do everything from the start, so let’s focus on delivering something that works, has a good level of information on it, and then we can grow it out from there. Innovation will be important to realise the true potential of dashboards, but that will happen organically over time. What we need from the start is a framework that supports this innovation.

  2. All schemes and providers need to start getting ‘dashboard ready’. No, we don’t have all the details yet, but we do have some of the crucial components of the jigsaw. And we all know the dashboard is coming, so we all know that there will be a significant focus on data integrity and quality. If in doubt, start there. Also, I’ve found the PDP team to be engaging and approachable, so sign up for their updates and engage in the stakeholder sessions they are running.

So the programme is now in full flow. And while there will certainly be some bumps along the road, real progress is now being made and I’m certainly genuinely excited by the potential dashboards can bring. Hopefully, Chris will do another Smart Pension Connect webinar later in the year, when he’ll have some good news to report on how the programme is progressing and is on track to deliver the future of pensions.

About Smart Pension

Launched in 2015, Smart Pension exceeds £5bn in assets under management (AUM) and now serves over one million members and more than 70,000 employers. It is powered by Keystone, Smart’s global savings and investments technology platform.

Aquiline Capital Partners, Barclays, Chrysalis Investments, DWS Group, Fidelity International Strategic Ventures, J.P. Morgan, Legal & General Investment Management, Link Group and Natixis Investment Managers are all investors in Smart Pension.