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Pension Dashboards

Mon 31 Jul 2017

How to easily check you will be ‘Dashboard-Ready’

Chris Connelly, lead business solutions architect at Equiniti and member of PASA’s Dashboard Working Group, talks us through what the many Pensions Dashboards will look like and what preparation firms need to do to be “Dashboard-ready”.

The delivery of the first prototype of The Pensions Dashboard has proven it is practically achievable and that it can be delivered by a panel of industry suppliers rather than one single central development. The planned go-live date of March 2019 may seem a long way off but for a prototype that raised as many questions as it answered (and that was the other objective of the project), that time will fly by.

Planning is already well underway at Equiniti with MyCSP colleagues. We are part of the PASA committee to draft the guidance notes for schemes and providers to follow when they join the dashboard and also are also tackling the details of the data that will need to be exchanged.

 

Multiple Dashboards

Before we work out what it means for us all, it is important to set expectations about what a Pension Dashboard really is. Or, more correctly, what Dashboards really ARE. There will actually be many.

The concept is actually one of distributed searches. It’s about the framework rather than the front end. Essentially it’s another way for a member to ask for information about their schemes. All at the same time. To be delivered to the place of their choosing. Even when they don’t actually know if they have a benefit or where it is.

The industry architecture will be diverse but it can be summarised into these main layers:

From the member’s perspective, there are four stages:

Circle of Trust

  1. The customer needs to prove to the system that they are who they say they are. This circle of trust is the essential part of the system. They can do this by entering some identifying information into a third party ID service (such as gov.uk/verify or Experian).
  2. The customer must then give online consent for that dashboard to send identifying information out into the wild to hunt down hidden benefits (this also deals with the consent element of GDPR).
  3. Each connected pension benefit system (or ISP) will then receive a request, try to match that record with someone in their scheme and, where successful, respond with some benefit data. As well as data concerns to address, schemes of all sizes will need to think about how they might deal with the added traffic of potentially many, many thousands of dashboard requests. This is one area where ISPs will add value.
  4. The Dashboard collates the information found and presents it online. It will be up to each Dashboard provider to decide how such information is displayed, modelled and interacted with. Whilst initial, early take up of the Dashboard will not be mandatory, there are benefits to getting Dashboard ready before any proposed regulations are passed.

Margaret Snowdon, PASA chair:

We know that when employees understand the benefits provided by their employer they appreciate them more, and this contributes to their productivity and goodwill, so there are benefits in being part of the pension dashboard.

Why Not Be On The Dashboard?

Alternatively we can look at it the other way around. What if your scheme wasn’t on the dashboard?  How much additional work will be caused for your firm anyway because member interest has been piqued?

It is important to consider that lack of compulsion should not be used as an excuse to do nothing. The introduction of the Dashboard isn’t the only reason to clean up your scheme data: it’s the right thing to do, because you need to be sure you are administering and paying pensions correctly. Indeed, the Dashboard will ask nothing more of you than any member can ask you directly but the volumes are likely to increase

Reviewing Standard Tests

For our part, in parallel to writing the guidance note with PASA we will also be reviewing the standard tests in DataSure. This well-established data quality analysis suite will therefore enable schemes to easily check they are Dashboard-ready. Our software teams and admin operations are also looking at the programmes and procedures we need to line up to allow schemes to connect and communicate with the dashboards.

For our industry the pensions Dashboard represents an opportunity to make a step change in the effectiveness of pension communication and dramatically boost pension awareness and engagement among employees at a stroke.

But enough of what we think. What do you think? We’ll be coming to ask you your opinions of the Dashboard soon.