The date was set: April 2019. The revolutionary pensions dashboard would launch and everyone would be able to access and manage all their private pension arrangements in one place along with their State Pension, clearly seeing how much income they would receive in retirement. Now it seems the much-hyped, much-needed dashboard may be delayed as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) continues to conduct its feasibility studies.
While the dashboard is crucial in the fight to get individuals engaged in their pensions and realistically save for their retirement, it’s important not to rush it, risk making a mistake and ending up back at square one. I believe the DWP is doing the right thing; taking their time over the feasibility paper ensuring we get it right first time.
There’s already a lot of mistrust surrounding the pension industry following recent high profile news stories such as BHS and an error with this service would add further flames to the fire and could deter people from using pension arrangements as a way to save for their retirement.
The average number of jobs in a working life in the UK now stands at 11. Keeping on top of one pension can be tricky enough, let alone multiple – it’s no wonder a fifth of people in the UK have lost track of one or more pension arrangement. The dashboard will help to combine all private pension arrangements – along with the state pension – to provide individuals with a better understanding of their likely finances in retirement, based on their current situation. It should encourage people to take a proactive role in managing their retirement and help them decide when they need expert financial advice. With regards to auto-enrolment, hopefully seeing the final output will allow workers to value and appreciate the pension arrangement provided by their employer and not to opt out of their pension scheme when auto enrolment minimum contributions are increased again next April. Going further, they may be motivated to increase their pension contributions, subject to their budget constraints. The latter is a hope, you may say, but from my knowledge of the pension industry it is a necessity – one I believe the dashboard will inspire.
So, if it takes a few more months to launch, then so be it. The results in the end will be more than worth it.
Stuart Price, is Partner and Actuary at Quantum Advisory, which has offices in Amersham, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, and London. Quantum provides pension and employee benefits services to employers, scheme trustees and members.