It’s fair to say that the evolution of pensions dashboards has been a marathon, not a sprint. But over the last year we’ve seen major progress in terms of timetables, scope and specifications for their launch. It’s now time for pension schemes to play their part to help savers keep track of their pension savings and make better plans for their retirement.
Some dashboard details, such as reporting requirements, are still work in progress. But with the information we already have, trustees should now be in a position to build their own action plan.
Plan to support dashboards. Different sizes and types of schemes will have different staging dates and windows for connecting to the dashboards. Find out your dashboard staging date and make sure you have a plan to prepare for compliance over time. As a general rule, large master trusts will be required to connect in the first half of 2023, DC or money purchase schemes used for auto-enrolment must connect by early 2024, and all other mid-sized occupational schemes (including DB schemes) by late 2025. Small schemes will likely connect from 2026 onwards, with exact details still to be agreed.
Understand the data requirements. We now have more clarity about the data required from schemes for the dashboard. There are three main types of information which are collectively known as ‘view data.’
- Administrative data – the details of the scheme, organisation, or provider and (if relevant) the employment related to the pension.
- Signpost data – this is background information such as website links for the Statement of Investment Principles and costs and charges information. This information will be the same for all members.
- Value data – this is member-specific. It includes two values: the individual member’s accrued pension, i.e. the amount of pension they have built up; and the estimated value of the pot at normal retirement age. The current expectation is that all DC schemes will have a maximum of three days to return value data (DB schemes will have 10 days) – but the figure should be available immediately if value data has been calculated for a benefits statement or similar over the last 12 months.
You’ll also hear references to ‘find data’ – this is the information provided to the dashboard by the user/scheme member to help the scheme identify the user making the information request.
Do more with your data – Maintaining good quality data is part of everyday scheme governance as well as an essential requirement for dashboards.
Every scheme of every type will benefit from making sure their data is as clean as possible, kept secure and that all data-related processes are GDPR compliant. This has wider benefits for schemes as well, such as enabling better quality and more tailored communications, or preparing for an insurer buyout. Trustees could also think about how to improve any data-related processes, such as keeping member information up-to-date over the long term.
Further ahead, members will also want to understand more about dashboards and how schemes are using their data. Different member types, such as active and deferred savers, may need different messages, so now is a suitable time to start planning communications.
Monitor dashboard developments – The Pensions Dashboard Programme website is full of information on the latest dashboard developments and is a definitive reference for timelines and the latest standards. Professional trustees can also be a great source of support. Every occupational scheme will need to prepare for dashboards, so PTL is building up a store of knowledge about how to help schemes address both shared challenges and scheme-specific issues.
It's also important to make sure you’re prepared from a compliance perspective. The Pensions Regulator (TPR) will be involved in making sure that all schemes are meeting standards.
Improve member outcomes – Dashboards will provide people with a better picture of their retirement savings to date and help them plan more effectively for their future. They have the potential to give scheme members more understanding of whether they are saving enough, and if they need to change their retirement expectations or their contributions for the future. While the preparation today may feel demanding, the impact on members’ outcomes in the future is worth the time and commitment.