A long time ago in a Cabinet far, far away (Ok only London during the Budget 2016), the then Chancellor, George Osbourne, announced the Government’s intention to build something to reign supreme across the Pensions Galaxy. The message was clear; the Government intended to “make sure that people have the right information, in the right format, at the right time.”
The deadline for rollout was set as 2019. Dashboards would allow every user to access their pension information across all providers. Say goodbye to tracking down those lost bits of paper floating around in the loft! Connecting people to their information provided by a network of providers across a dashboard would allow:
- Better accessibility
- Better information
- Improved data to enable more informed decisions with how much we save and what products we choose
What we see in this speech is a clear vision and intention to give us all more choice. A good thing, right?!
The Delivery Wars
Ok, so let’s bring this vision from our Galactic Governors up to date and see where we are today.
The government, a team of 16 pension providers and 6 tech firms, all worked extremely hard with a Project Group to produce the Dashboard prototype. Simon Kirby (the then economic secretary) re-iterated the importance of creating something pretty special, allowing us all to access our pension data in one easy way. You can check that speech out here: (The Economic Secretary to the Treasury's speech at the Pensions Dashboard TechSprint.) All sounding epic so far..
During the time that’s passed, we have seen Auto-Enrolment in the work place adding millions of people to the pension-saving arena, and a real drive in online accessibility within the Savings and Investment space. Notable mentions for the likes of Monzo and Revolut, who are changing the way many of us are accessing information on our money and financing through mobile and dashboard apps. If banking can do it, why can’t pensions? The world of fintech is transforming at an unprecedented rate and the seemingly impenetrable forcefield surrounding the antiquated pensions industry certainly looked to be getting a much needed shake up.
So what happened?
Well, in March 2018, there was a bit of a U-turn. Well a whole U-turn actually and the idea for a single, government backed, centralised dashboard was scrapped.
The ABI defended the decision on the grounds that competition would lead to more innovation, better consumer outcomes. However there seems to be varying views at the ABI Vs DWP . Imagine we’ve not heard the end of it yet!
So, the official line was that the whole idea actually wasn’t to create a single dashboard for everyone, but instead to build out a tested platform for third parties to create and innovate. Since then a petition has been launched and according to the FT article, has collected nearly 200,000 signatures since the 23 July. We are yet to find anybody who doesn’t view this as an impressive shout demanding this type of service.
Return of the Dashboard..
So not quite the fairy-tale ending for the Government pensions dashboard? What now?
What it has done is create plenty of exciting movement for how third parties can bring fresh ideas to the mix. Innovators have the opportunity to now move in and help build new products that will allow us to access our pension details like never before, allowing us to make better and more informed decisions with our money. And let’s face it, that’s all we really want!
The Force is strong in the pension world, and we see a future of free and open choice in how we manage our pensions and future finances.