In his 2016 Budget speech, chancellor George Osborne encouraged the pensions industry to create by 2019 an on-line ‘dashboard’ which would enable pension savers to view in one place all the schemes of which they are members.
The project has been welcomed and a number of organisations have come forward to begin the process of establishing a set of standards. The critical issue, however, is whether a consensus can be reached on the adoption of a common standard.
A comparison has been made with the introduction of video in the 1980s, when VHS and Sony Betamax were vying with each other until Betamax threw in the towel.
Compiling all the necessary information will not be easy. Data in relation to most modern pensions may be reasonably accessible, but older schemes may depend on old administration systems; and not all company schemes carry members’ benefit information in transferable form. State pensions will also need to be included.
Data security is another issue and depends on being able to Identify and verify individual members. However, there are examples of secure portal registration already in existence in both the private and the public sectors.
Giving pension savers the ability to see all their pensions in one place at the same time through a pensions dashboard could revolutionise attitudes and may provide the catalyst for some people to take action to safeguard their standard of living in retirement.