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Pensions dashboard delayed further as ‘fundamental questions’ yet to be answered

The pensions dashboard is likely to be delayed further than the planned April 2019 launch date as fundamental questions regarding its structure and governance are yet to be answered.

Pensions dashboard delayed further as ‘fundamental questions’ yet to be answered

The pensions dashboard is likely to be delayed further than the planned April 2019 launch date as fundamental questions regarding its structure and governance are yet to be answered.

It is unclear when the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) feasibility study that was due to be published earlier this year, and then delayed to ‘autumn’, will be issued.

A source told New Model Adviser®: ‘No one is close to doing anything. I know [the DWP] keep saying the feasibility study is coming shortly, but they are still consulting with the industry on what should be there.’

It is understood the DWP is still in discussions with stakeholders and interested parties and has further meetings to discuss the platform booked over the coming month.

As a result, sources have predicted that the feasibility study is not likely to be ready before the end of October.

Smart Pension head of policy Darren Philp said: ‘Fundamental key questions still aren’t closer to being answered.’

These include questions around compulsion, regulation, who’s going to deliver the platform, what data can be shared, among other issues that the industry has been grappling with since the dashboard’s inception Philp explained.

A stakeholder event held earlier this week led by industry figures considered the delivery of the dashboard, experience of dashboards internationally and views on a collaborative government-industry led model.  

Following the event, Philp said: ‘We now have some people who are big supporters of the dashboard and are eager for it to go ahead and others who are cautious about governance and issues of consumer protection.

‘The dashboard stakeholder group is getting wider… it’s not just about the traditional industry anymore, but also the fintech and open banking industries, and so there are so many different points of view. At the moment there are different groups with different motivations.’

In order to resolve this, ‘we need leadership, we need that governance structure,’ that could come from the feasibility study, Philp said. ‘We need this to bridge that stakeholder gap and we need something that bridges the governance gap that people can buy in to.’  

Sources who were at the stakeholder meeting told New Model Adviser® the groups recognised the need to ‘just do it’.

In a ministerial update last month, it was suggested the DWP would pass on its ownership of the project to the pensions industry.

In a written statement, pensions minister Guy Opperman said: ‘An industry-led dashboard, facilitated by government, will harness the best of industry innovation. We will continue to engage with industry on this model and government will protect pension savers and personal information by legislating where necessary.’

A spokesman for the DWP said its position is unchanged from the ministerial update and ‘we will shortly report on the findings from the feasibility study’.

Work and pensions secretary Esther McVey said: 'It is clear there is broad support for the concept of a dashboard… By taking a leading role, and harnessing their knowledge, the industry can develop a dashboard that works for pensions holders – and government will help facilitate this.’

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