Be prepared: “Your Pensions Dashboard deadline is coming”

3rd August, 2022

  • So said the Pensions Regulator (TPR) on 22 June and within a month or so there were four important milestones in terms of the proposal for Pension Dashboards to go live from 2023 –

    • Two new publications from the Department for Work and Pensions (a response to the consultation on Dashboard Regulations and a new consultation on the Dashboard Available Point (DAP), which is when the services will be made available for all members of the public)
    • Updated guidance from TPR
    • A new consultation from the Pension Dashboard Programme team for pension providers, organisations interested in setting up qualifying pensions dashboards services and organisations interested in supporting pension providers to comply with their duties.

    Taken together, these developments should be considered a warning signal that Dashboards are coming, the planned timetable is on track and trustees need to start preparing and get ready to connect and comply with a new digital environment.

    There are a number of actions for trustees (see below) but, first, a reminder of what Dashboards actually are (noting that the plural is used intentionally, as there is likely to be more than one Dashboard including a non-commercial variant from the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS).

    What are pension dashboards?

    A pensions dashboard will show a user (e.g. pension scheme member) all their pensions information online, securely and all in one place. To make this work, multiple parties and technical services need to be connected – in what is being referred to as an ‘ecosystem’. The ecosystem encompasses dashboards themselves, data providers’ find and view interfaces to the ecosystem, and the central digital architecture.

    The Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) is responsible for delivering the digital architecture and services, which will enable data providers and dashboard operators to inter-operate. There is no central database within the ecosystem that holds personal information supplied by users or pensions information. Instead, the ecosystem functions like a giant switchboard, connecting users with their pensions via dashboards.

    To illustrate how it all works in practice, the PDP has put together this short video –

    What should trustees be doing?

    In a new campaign launched by TPR, trustees are being warned they must start preparing for their pensions dashboards deadline. According to TPR, Trustees should now:

    • check their connection deadline (the date by which they will be legally required to be connected to the pensions dashboards),
    • have pensions dashboards firmly on their board agendas,
    • be deciding how they will connect (whether they will develop a solution in house, or use a pensions administrator or integrated service provider), and
    • be taking stock of and digitising their data (this is crucial so that savers are successfully matched to their pensions).

    On the latter two points, given that many schemes outsource their day-to-day pension scheme administration to their party administrators (TPAs), possible questions for your TPAs include:

    • How will you be connecting (in-house or third-party solution)?
    • What steps are you taking to ensure that the data is accurate, calculated in line with the requirements and digitally accessible?
    • Are you putting in place additional resources and processes to deal with member queries arising from the use of dashboards, and will there be additional costs?

    The largest schemes are expected to connect to the dashboards system in less than a year’s time and TPR will now begin writing to them to alert them to their connection deadline and what they need to do.

    So, it really does seem as though it is ‘all systems go’ on pension dashboards, that there is a lot of work for schemes to do and trustees should start preparing as soon as possible.

    To read more about the requirements, click here.

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    • Published byGreig McGuinness

      Greig is an Accredited Professional Trustee with Dalriada having joined in 2008 from a large organisation specialising in pensions for the not for profit and charity sectors.  Since entering the industry in 1999, Greig has gained a wealth of experience...

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