It is well known that thousands of people have many millions of pounds sat in lost, misplaced and unclaimed pension pots. Therefore, it seems a bit daft that what many of us in the pensions industry regarded as a great idea – the Pensions Dashboard – may be ditched.
The new welfare secretary Esther McVey has reportedly said that she thinks the Dashboard should not be provided by government and that she has too much on her plate with the Universal Credit roll-out. Trying to roll out the Dashboard, another major IT project for her department, is apparently, too much for them to handle.
The idea of the Pensions Dashboard is like all good ideas, quite simple. It’s an online tool that will allow everyone to see their pensions – workplace, personal and state – in one place. It will keep track of the various pensions you may have over your working life – and will show you very clearly whether or not you are on track to save enough money for your retirement.
As the concept of a job for life disappears into the dim and distant past – it’s been suggested that the average person will have 11 jobs in their working life, that’s at least 11 pension pots. In fact, the government’s own Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) figures said that by 2050 there could be 50 million pension pots in circulation. There is potential for even more money to go astray unless there is a central place to keep track of them.
In addition, the government is well aware that people are still not saving nearly enough for their retirement – the Dashboard will make retirement prospects very clear and presents a really exciting way for the younger generation to engage with their pensions savings. Young people conduct much of their personal business (banking, shopping, etc.) online these days, so scrapping the Dashboard is surely a backwards move and makes no sense at all.
Last year, we were all excited to see the Association of British Insurers (ABI) reveal the Dashboard prototype, which had actually been funded by the industry and tech firms. Of course, there is an issue around long term funding and management. Going forward the creation and maintenance of the Dashboard will of course, be expensive. It will have to be paid for either by tax payers, e.g., the government – or possibly pension schemes, although, there would certainly be more trust in the Dashboard if it was seen to be an impartial state managed initiative.
A petition fighting plans to scrap the Dashboard has around 95,000 signatures already as the public, the pension sector, insurers and charities register their dismay at what they see as not just a mistake by the government but a breaking of their promise – a betrayal even.
We believe the Dashboard is an idea worth saving and scrapping or shelving it indefinitely is a mistake and extremely short sighted.