Creating a pensions dashboard
17 June 2016
A white paper has been published which reports on the progress of the project ‘creating a pensions dashboard’ which is set to be available to consumers by 2019.
The white paper looks at progress so far and discusses the key challenges that have been identified, explores some solutions and provides recommendations for the next phase of the project.
In 2015 a discovery project (OIX, 2015) with participants from industry, consumer bodies and government was undertaken to address the problem of ‘lost pension pots’.
Previous modelling commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in 2010 shows that on average, individuals will work for 11 employers during their working life, meaning that going forward many individuals will acquire multiple pension pots.
That earlier project tested the hypothesis that “consumers will take action and make informed choices when they are provided with information and data about their pension savings.” The findings demonstrated that matching people with their defined-contribution pension pots and presenting the results in a dashboard were important to consumers and could lead to changed behaviour when engaging with pensions.
Out of this work was born the next phase of the project or the ‘Alpha Phase’ as it has become known.
The Alpha Phase officially started in February 2016 with 14 organisations representing the views of consumers, the financial services industry and the government. This phase concentrated on aggregating a comprehensive picture of people’s accumulated pension savings including defined-benefit pensions and defined-contribution pensions alongside the State Pension. The core project focused on the following areas: consumer journeys; consumer research; architecture and data standards; and policy and governance.
The Pensions Dashboard Model
One of foundation blocks of the project was creating a definition for a Pensions Dashboard. The Pensions Dashboard is a free-to-consumer online resource that enables people to find and check their pension savings. The resource comprises three core components:
- Digital Identity (ID): The identification technology that verifies the user’s identity before they can access their data.
- Dashboard User Interface (UI): the set of screens, menus and commands through which the user views their information and may carry out tasks based on it.
- Pension Finder Service (PFS): The technology that facilitates finding an individual’s pension savings, collects information from pension providers (and DWP for State Pension) and delivers it to the User Interface.
There are three options for the way a Dashboard User Interface can be provided to consumers. The identified options are:
- Option 1: single destination model. There would be a single Dashboard User Interface and this would be accessed through one source which could be a consumer guidance brand.
- Option 2: white-labelled model. Again, there would be a single Dashboard User Interface, but this could be white-labelled and accessed through multiple financial services brands (such as banks, pension providers, financial advisers, fintech startups and not-for-profit organisations).
- Option 3: federated model. This would allow for multiple Dashboard User Interfaces, so that each provider could customise the interface and user experience to suit its own customers.
Recommendations and Next Steps
Consumer research has suggested that consumers value the option of a single destination dashboard above the others for reasons of trust, assurance with their data and simplicity in a complex subject area. Building a single-destination dashboard also offers the benefits of a more controlled environment in which to develop and test a high profile product containing sensitive data, allowing risks to be managed and reputational damage (particularly in terms of data protection issues) to be avoided.
At the same time, the benefits of making the Pensions Dashboard available through other financial organisations where consumers are already engaging in financial matters cannot be ignored, especially as this could have greater reach when trying to engage the population in their retirement planning. With this in mind, the recommended approach is initially to build a single-destination dashboard that is, nevertheless, capable of, and technically ready to, be white-labelled through approved industry websites (such as pension providers), once the complete Pensions Dashboard service has been fully tested from a security and quality assurance perspective.
In terms of the Pension Finder Service, the practicalities of starting with a single Pension Finder Service outweigh the potential innovation benefits of multiple Pension Finder Services. However, the architecture will be future-proofed to enable evolution to support other models, including multiple dashboards, should demand arise.
The Project is now moving into a second phase of Alpha to build an end-to-end prototype of a Pensions Dashboard service and to develop the cross-organisational governance structure. The intention is to maintain and build momentum, delivering a first alpha service which is iterated and improved through a private and then public beta in 2017 before becoming a ‘live’ service.
Further details are set out in the Creating a Pensions Dashboard Whitepaper - May 2016.