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How Out Of Date Is Your Scheme Data? Now Is the Time To Finally Put Your House In Order…

30 July 2018

by Adam Green, Chief Risk Officer at Equiniti

Schemes have limped along with substandard and incomplete data for years, often only engaging in data cleansing projects once a de-risking event is on the horizon. 

GDPR (the General Data Protection Regulation) has shone a light on the data a scheme should – and shouldn’t – be collecting, but has your scheme done enough to ensure the quality of data it collects is of a high standard? 

A complete data set may have once been considered aspirational, but that is a thing of the past. The Pensions Regulator (tPR) is now starting to ask for schemes to report on data scores to see how theirs measures up.

Adam Green 480X320px Adam Green Chief Risk Officer at Equiniti

From this year, all schemes provide tPR with the date of the last data review and the critical figure of the scheme’s data score. This is the percentage of members for whom the scheme has a full and accurate set of data – across both common (member details used to pay benefits) and scheme specific (employer name, service contribution histories, etc) data.

There is nothing new in this – tPR outlined its expectations for data collection eight years ago. However, it must now be set out in the return, as the regulator sees these as early warning indicators that allow it to intervene in schemes which it perceives are struggling with their data.

Struggling with your data? Talk to us today

If you’re not sure how your scheme measures up, you soon will, as tPR will be able to use this data to generate a benchmark for all trust-based schemes. Measuring up against peers should not be your objective, though. Administration doesn’t just happen by itself and there is evidence that good administration leads to better member outcomes, by ensuring members get the right benefit at the right time.

If your data is not in order, the scheme will not be running at peak efficiency. Any inefficiency introduces risks and some may ‘just’ increase costs, but others could potentially jeopardise members’ benefits if funding or risks are being managed and monitored on the basis of poor data. It’s like having a warning light with a failed bulb. Technology will improve member experience and engagement, but is utterly reliant upon good data.

If you have any gaps in your data, now is the time to set that right – irrespective of how well your data score measures up against your peers. This may require Trustees to engage more closely with administrators. They may even have to spend more time in meetings analysing the health of the data. But tPR has requested these metrics because it sees data as a crucial component of good governance and wants to see it prioritised.

WHAT TO DO NEXT

If you have any concerns about how your data scores will look in your scheme return, or would like further insight into how you can ensure your data is of a high quality, speak to one of our team of experts today by completing the form below:

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