Some savers may have to wait four years before they can see all their pensions in one place under plans for a new UK Government dashboard scheme.
Dashboards allow people to access information about all their retirement funds in one place online and bring together details from multiple sources, including the State Pension, which is a contributory benefit delivered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
Seeing all the information pieced together for the first time could help people to plan for retirement and make the most of their savings as it will include the accrued and projected values of pensions.
A consultation on the draft regulations around the new dashboards has been published by the DWP.
Schemes will come on board in three waves under the plans:
- Large schemes – between April 2023 and September 2024
- Medium schemes – between October 2024 and October 2025
- Smallest schemes – from 2026
The consultation document said that schemes should be able to connect earlier than their compulsory staging deadline where there is capacity.
It added that to ensure that all schemes have a reasonable chance of being able to comply with their connection duties, there may be some “limited flexibility” to defer a deadline for up to 12 months.
Tom Selby, head of retirement policy at AJ Bell, said: “Anyone expecting dashboards to be launched immediately with bells and whistles attached might be disappointed by the relatively slow staging timetable outlined today.
“Some savers may need to wait over four years to see all their pensions online via dashboards, although for those with pensions in larger schemes it should be much faster.
“The [UK] Government has understandably focused on getting the biggest schemes to comply first as this is where the majority of pensions are held.
“Once a ‘critical mass’ of schemes has been reached and prototypes have been fully tested, dashboards will then be made available to the public.”
Sir Steve Webb, a former pensions minister who is now a partner at consultancy LCP (Lane Clark & Peacock), said: “Bringing together full pension data in one place is a mammoth task and ministers have repeatedly over-promised and under-delivered on this goal.
“Back in 2016 there was a promise of a dashboard in use by 2019, but now it looks as though the first generally accessible dashboard will not be available until-mid 2024 – at least five years late.
“The biggest headaches include bringing on the public service schemes, which have major headaches of their own to deal with, and defined benefit pension schemes where complex new calculations may be required.
“It is vital that the Government ensures there is no further slippage in this project and that the benefits of dashboards are available to the public as soon as possible.”
Guy Opperman, Minister for Pensions, said: “Pensions dashboards are a major milestone in our ambitious reforming agenda and will bring pensions into the digital age, harnessing innovative technology to benefit savers.
“Clear pensions information at the touch of a button will ensure better informed, more engaged savers and help people plan more effectively for retirement.”
Chris Curry, principal of the pensions dashboards programme, said: “Dashboards will completely change the retirement savings landscape, giving people more opportunities to engage with their pensions than ever before.
“This improved future for savers can only be delivered by the UK Government, regulators and the pensions industry working together. This consultation is a huge step forward, providing greater clarity for industry on the steps they will need to take to deliver dashboards.”
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The consultation will run until March 13, gathering feedback from industry, potential providers, consumer groups and future users on what data should be included on dashboards and how this should be displayed to people.
Savers will be able to choose how they keep track of their pension pots, with dashboards to be provided by the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) and other organizations who meet the requirements to develop and host their own dashboards.
This year will mark a decade since the start of automatic enrollment into workplace pensions.
Since the launch of auto-enrolment, the percentage of eligible employees participating in workplace pensions as a whole has grown from 55 per cent to 88 per cent.
By the end of November 2021, a record 10.6 million eligible employees were enrolled in an automatic enrollment scheme across the UK.
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