Insurers push Gov’t for clear pensions dashboard timetable and focus
The insurance industry has urged the Government to engage with a pensions dashboard Roadmap and ensure a system that will allow people to keep all their retirement savings in one place.
The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has told the Government to “lay its cards on the table” and to give precise undertakings in terms of timetable and resources.
Leading figures from the insurance industry have added their voices to the ABI’s campaign.
Graham Vidler, director of external affairs at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), pictured left, pointed out that more than three quarters of people (78%) admit that they are not sure or do not know where to look to tell if they are on track with their retirement savings.
While the “ground-breaking initiative” has the potential to benefit millions of savers in the UK, said Vidler, for the dashboard to be effective it must be “comprehensive, effectively regulated and underpinned by strong independent governance” to ensure consistency of advice and information to savers.
Steve Webb, director of policy at Royal London, agreed that being comprehensive is a crucial requirement, saying that current plans mean that the dashboard risks being like a jigsaw with missing pieces.
“If savers can only see some of their pensions,” said Webb, “they will not get a complete picture and the value of the dashboard will be greatly reduced.”
UK pension consumers ‘left in the slow lane’
Webb added that other countries have had dashboards for years, and UK consumers should not be “left in the slow lane”.
Other commenters questioned the Government’s commitment to the dashboard amid chaotic Brexit negotiations.
Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell, referred to “Theresa May’s weakened position and a Government fixated on Brexit”, saying that these risk forcing the pensions dashboard project off the political agenda.
Referring to the call from the ABI for the Government to focus on the matter, Bell claimed that it pointed to strong concerns at the ABI about a lack of will from Whitehall.
‘Lack of focus by Gov’t’
“Today’s announcement looks like an attempt to kick policymakers into action,” he said.
Bell was also sceptical about the 2019 implementation deadline, saying that in his view, it would be “a stretch” given apparent lack of Government focus.
He flagged concerns about “millions of public sector workers”, questioning whether they will be able to view their pensions through the dashboard.
“Public sector schemes were given a carve-out from the pension freedoms,” he said, “and, given the pressures on resources at the moment, the Government may be tempted to exclude them again.”