UK - A study of some of the UK's largest pension schemes has revealed that  accuracy of data and consistency in data security are two important concerns for scheme managers when assessing data management.

The survey of representatives from 41 pension schemes by Clear Path Analysis revealed 43% placed data accuracy as the most prominent issue, while 27% highlighted data security and 16% noted the importance of in-house and outsourced data cleansing.

The findings, part of a Clear Path Analysis report on data management for pension schemes to be published in September, said 92% of respondents considered data management as crucial but have not committed enough time to it. And 86% of survey participants claimed data security and data handling would be a high priority over the next two years.

Philip Mendelsohn, director at Atkins Pension Trustee and a contributor to the final report from Clear Path Analysis, said: "In the DB arena, with the current pressures on pension schemes, there is a need for trustees to be able to take opportunities, for example buy-outs, buy-ins, longevity swaps. It is not possible to do this without accurate data on the membership."

The quality of scheme record-keeping is a key focus for The Pensions Regulator (TPR), and its consultation on regulations for member data ended last month. Another survey found just 19% of schemes had checked they hold all the fundamental data required about members. (See earlier IPE article: TPR cracks down on poor pension admin)

The findings from the Clear Path Analysis survey reveal that 41% of respondents believe poor data was the biggest challenge to data management, with 33% citing difficulties in data handling and 12% consistency in data security. However, just 1% of the survey respondents claimed the costs of improving data was a particular concern.

Erika Kendall-Navarrete, publisher of the forthcoming data management report, said: "Pension schemes are finally realising the impact of inaccurate data to their systems and only now becoming aware that they must move quickly to get things in order."

She added: "The lack of awareness amongst pension schemes of their obligations is verging on critical as TPR is happy to enforce guidelines when necessary."

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