The UK’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) consultation on the draft Pensions Dashboards Regulations 2022 closed last month. The DWP now aims to lay the regulations before parliament for debate later in the year.
However, as much as data simplification in the world of pensions is essential for dashboards to work, there are consequential questions of data accuracy.
There are certainly challenges in keeping complete and accurate data over many decades. Many pension schemes have been focusing on improving their data for some time but mistakes/human errors are bound to happen.
Certainly the UK’s Pensions Dashboards Programme will be highly regulated, but concerns around data management remain, especially around how the data protection obligations will be managed and where the various responsibilities lie.
Additionally, trustees are likely to need training to understand their obligations and be in a position to ensure their administrators have effective systems to comply. A lot of automation is expected for a pensions system to be ‘dashboard ready’.
The industry remains supportive of the initiative but the proposed implementation is just too complex. And as Girish Menezes, head of administration at consultancy Premier, recently said: “The only way to approach it is the way you should eat an elephant: slowly and bite by bite.”
A steady, slower implementation programme is advised, starting with the Pension Finder Service for schemes with more than 1,000 members. Members logging in to this service and understanding how and where their pensions are held would solve some of the biggest problems: being able to identify where pensions are located and being able to update details centrally, such as a change of address, will enhance that system.
But even to build this quite specific functionality by 2025, and to have tested it thoroughly, is already a considerable task.
It is reassuring at least that the Pensions Regulator is committing to a penalty regime in the case of non-compliance – it has the power to fine individual trustees up to £5,000 or corporate trustees up to £50,000 on a per breach basis.
Venilia Amorim, Editor, IPE.com