After a long wait the Pension Schemes Bill will soon officially enter into law, having passed through the Parliament stage on 19 January.
Among strengthening the powers of the Pensions Regulator, enabling a stronger funding regime for defined benefit (DB) pension schemes and allowing the creation of collective defined contribution (CDC) pensions, the Bill paves the way for pension dashboards, which, once operational, will enable savers to access all their pensions information online, securely and in one place.
It is important milestone in the development of pension dashboards, which will enable savers to understand their estimated retirement income more easily than ever before. Importantly, amendments to the Bill mean that consumers will be able to access a dashboard service that is publicly owned, provided by the Money and Pensions Service.
In my role on the Pensions Dashboards Programme Steering Group, the next steps are to help design appropriate protections to ensure that the data dashboards present, and the functionality they offer, do not result in consumer detriment, mis-selling or pension scams. I will also be providing an industry perspective to ensure the data standards are fit for purpose and sufficient time is allowed for pension schemes to on-board.
Dashboards will launch with a simple find-and-view capability and, later, after careful review and user testing, functionality will be increased to provide an innovative way of safely giving people more effective control of their pension savings.
As the most significant source of retirement income for many savers, it’s positive that the government agrees that the state pension should be included on dashboards from the outset.
We are also advocating for the PLSA’s Retirement Living Standards, which help savers understand their saving objective, to feature on the dashboard.
The passing of the Pensions Schemes Bill into law will be cause for celebration for everyone associated with the dashboard initiative, but there is plenty more hard work to be done before savers finally get to enjoy the benefits of seeing all their pension savings in one place.
Nigel Peaple is director of policy and advocacy and Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PSLA)