Pensions Dashboards – a positive step forward for the nation’s financial wellbeing

By Anthony Rafferty, MD of Edinburgh-based Fintech, Origo

Improving the overall wellbeing of citizens is becoming and ever more important focus of government, an important element of which is financial wellbeing – the vision being a society where people make the most of their money and pensions through being more financially aware and equipped.

Technology has an important part to play in this, notably in respect of the implementation of the Pensions Dashboards. Primarily, dashboards are about enabling individuals to find and view all their pensions in one place, thereby increasing engagement with their long term savings and retirement planning.

Last week the DWP published its Pensions Dashboards paper, which is the Government’s response to the consultation that ended in December 2018. It sets out the practical steps necessary to implement Dashboards, starting with the establishment of an industry delivery group by the end of the summer under the new Money and Pensions Service (MPAS).

Some initial commentator reaction to the paper suggested the project wasn’t being moved on fast enough, but the paper is what we expected at this stage in the project and we see it as a positive step forward. In the paper, government clearly stated its intention ‘to introduce Dashboards as quickly as possible’.

The four key elements necessary to make the Pensions Dashboards a reality are governance, compulsion to provide data, state pension and digital architecture. Next steps for all of these elements have been addressed in the paper, which we see as good news.

What’s more, through the consultation, government was able to test its proposals with the industry, consumer groups and other interested parties. Some 125 organisations gave feedback and the paper says the ‘vast majority’ of them agreed with the suggested approach.

This approach includes establishing a single Pension Finder Service – the core architecture that orchestrates an individual’s search for their pension data across all pensions companies and which displays their data on the dashboard they have chosen to use.

Origo has taken a leading role in the project from the start, quickly demonstrating how the technology could meet the government’s policy intent and objectives. We have built and scale-tested the central components to more than handle the 15 million and more potential requests the service could receive. Furthermore, we believe that the digital architecture can be deployed quickly to meet the stated timescales.

Through the DWP paper, government has given dashboards the green light. The task now is for the industry to help MAPS and the delivery group take the project forward to launch. It is a most exciting challenge and one that can have a significant positive effect on the wellbeing of this nation’s retirement savers.