When Pensions Minister Laura Trott announced this week that the Pensions Dashboard, which was originally scheduled to launch in a test format this year, would be postponed to 2026, the Ministry of Work and Pensions may have been in the spotlight.
I know many financial planning professionals shrugged their shoulders too.
The questions to ask are: Is the dashboard ever visible? Why did the wheels come off the trolley? And what causes the repeated delays?
As a financial hack, I would love to be able to answer any of these questions, but unfortunately I can’t. This is a classic case of headlines being “shrouded in mystery.”
The question is whether we should worry about delays in the “nice to have” rather than a radical pension revolution. Dashboard programs now look more like “boring dashes” than “dashboards” to many people.
For what it’s worth, I still think the pension dashboard is a worthwhile endeavor.
Providing all pension savings details in one place for all pension savers, rather than the current jumbled paperwork and often confusing descriptions, is very difficult, especially due to the complexity of the scheme. Good considering many people have four, five or even more pensions. The UK pension system and the lack of ‘bonded’ thinking.
The dashboard has clearly proven to be much more complex technically than originally thought, and if the wheels are to be reattached to the trolley, now is the time to replace the horses and give them new propulsion. I thought it might be time.
Also, in 2026, the launch of the dashboard could be well ahead of the next election (scheduled for January 2025), and there could be a new government, so the dashboard will be scrapped. It’s also worth noting that it could be considered a ripe legacy vanity project.
The situation surrounding pensions has also changed. Recent successes in the pension space include the hugely successful auto enrollment pension scheme with well over 10 million enrollees. These are being rapidly expanded to cover more workers. SIPPs are also growing steadily, with numbers estimated at 1.6 million, which is a fairly strong individual pension sector.
So does all of this make the pension dashboard less important? Perhaps it does. desirable? that’s right. Is it important or essential? – Probably not.
Some providers are under the impression that they could do a little better if dashboards were to happen. DWP may have to go to great lengths to get things moving a little faster.
Without more effort, dashboards are likely to be a never-finished project, and that’s a shame.
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Kevin O’Donnell is the editor of Financial Planning Today, where he has worked as a journalist and editor for over 30 years.