DWP confirms ‘strong case for legislation’ for pensions dashboard; phasing timeline needed

Written by Talya Misiri

There is a “strong case for legislation” for the pensions dashboard, the Department for Work and Pensions has confirmed.

Speaking at the launch of the Which? dashboard report yesterday, DWP director Julie Gillis emphasised that there is a “strong case for legislation” for the progression of the pensions dashboard especially in relation to timing and collation of data.

Ahead of the DWP’s feasibility study due at the end of March, the Which? report titled The pensions dashboard – How can we make sure it works for consumers, outlined that the platform needs to be assembled to ensure it is fully functioning, tailored to the consumer and easy to understand.

To achieve this, therefore, the suggestion that legislation may be in the pipeline has been strongly supported. Former Pensions Minister and Royal London director of policy Steve Webb noted that he is “delighted” by the possibility of legal action.

Webb noted that although it may be years before an act of parliament could be passed and for providers to get their data in order, a timeframe following on from this could be beneficial. Once the act is passed if clear communications are given to providers and those involved in the provision of information, then compliance is more likely to take place, he explained.

Signalling that the law is going to be passed could assist in the long run, Webb added.

Amidst continued discussion on how to ensure that pension providers, trustees and administrators deliver necessary information to the dashboard, the industry group noted that a phased approach should look at gaining wide coverage and then depth later on.

In providing data to the dashboard, Aviva strategy projects director James Ward stated that the industry should firstly focus on achieving “a wide coverage of schemes then go for depth of information”.

For the platform(s) to be a success, therefore, ABI director of policy, long-term savings and protection Yvonne Braun voiced a shared view that an “appropriate phasing timeline” is needed.

In terms of governance and transparency, the report adds that the dashboard could be operated by the Single Financial Guidance Body, independent of the industry and that information on the dashboard should include: charges, guarantees, benefits and which pensions provide contribution matching from employers.

The DWP's feasibility report on the dashboard is set to be published at the end of March, provided that it is not hindered by Brexit negotiations.

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