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Are You Pension Dashboard-Ready?

14 September 2020

As we await news on likely implementation dates for pension dashboards, we look at what the latest status is on the project, as well as key actions schemes can undertake now in preparation for a successful launch.

What is the latest status on pension dashboards?

Last week, EQ responded to the Money and Pension Service (MaPS), call for input on the proposed data scope and details for the introduction of dashboards. You can read our full response here, but in a nutshell, EQ fully supports the policy of reconnecting people with their pensions so that they can take ownership of their futures. However, we believe there needs be a balance between what is useful to members and what is possible to deliver by an overstretched industry.

A phased approach

We have proposed a two-phase approach to MaPS, where phase 1 would be an earlier delivery of a useful tool to members to quickly reconnect with known and lost pensions: aiming for close to 100% coverage as quickly as possible, but provide less detail than currently proposed by MaPS. In phase 2, we would then turn to the major hurdle of providing benefit information in a way which makes it digestible and understandable to members, many of whom are not, and should not be expected to be, pension experts.

We fully encourage you to read the full response, as well as watch our EQ Insight video below where we talk to Chris Connelly, Proposition and Solutions Director for EQ Paymaster, who also chairs the Pensions Dashboard Working group on behalf of the Pension Administration Standards Association. Absorb it, take it to your team, share it, discuss it and let us know your thoughts.

Are You Pension Dashboard Ready 3 Steps

Top 3 things to think about to be 'dashboard-ready'

We await news on likely implementation dates, but whatever date is targeted, that time will fly by. We also still await the final agreed scope and detail, but with MaPS proactive publications of proposed data items and open communications on progress, there’s no excuse not to start looking at the challenges each of us will face based on the information we already have.

We have composed 3 main areas that you should be thinking about now to prepare your scheme for the pension dashboards.

toggle 1. How do I join up with the industry and what do I need to connect?

You can look at this in two chunks: internally and externally.

Internally, you can think about where your data is. Is it in databases: single, multiple? spreadsheets? microfiche? Mouldy basement drawers? For your data to be accessed and used within a dashboard, it needs to be made available digitally.

Externally, you can think about whether you have the IT equipment to connect and to service the potential traffic. Your administrator or software provider should already be thinking about this for you. However, if you host your own equipment you may want to think about whether it is big enough. You may well (for example) have sized your web-facing equipment to service your X thousand members. However, in dashboard world, you will get a search request for every person who goes on to any dashboard. No one really knows how popular dashboards will become, but what is likely is that you will get more requests than you have members today.

toggle 2. Personal data quality

Once you have all the IT connectors in place and start receiving requests, what do they look like? Well, section 1a of the proposed data standards covers that. In short, you will be sent a handful of identifying fields in respect of an individual which you can use to identify that person in your own records. We call this process “Matching”. This means that The Pensions Regulator data quality scores you all produce aren’t enough anymore. Instead of just checking for the presence or consistency of the data you hold, you will need to start thinking about ways in which you can check it’s actually correct. After all, if you can’t match the person correctly, the rest of the detail is inconsequential.

toggle 3. Benefit data coverage

Lastly, having connected to dashboard world, having received a request, having correctly identified them as your member… what do we tell them?

There are three key topics here:

  1. Confirmation you have a benefit and in which scheme
  2. An Estimated Retirement Income
  3. A ‘current value’

The exact definitions of these are not yet with us, but it is clear from the responses to the Call for Input published already that a primary concern for industry is how inconsistently we all approach providing information today. So, before the details can be known, you can at least start to think about what coverage you have for these data fields. When calculating these types of numbers, do you produce benefit statements today for all of your members? Do you store the results each time, or do you only store the resulting document?

…and if you don’t calculate these automatically today, might you consider adding an annual task into your scheme calendar to update stored results ready for dashboard requests?

Find out more

Even without the final details, there is a lot we can make a head start on. Speak to your relationship manager if you want to discuss the details and how they might be resolved for your scheme.

Pensions Dashboard Insights

In our new EQ Insights video, we speak to Chris Connelly, Proposition and Solutions Director for EQ Paymaster to give an update on the Pensions Dashboard project, and talk through the possible data requirements needed from schemes.

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