Out-Law News 1 min. read

FCA launches consultation on pension provider dashboard rules

The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has launched its own consultation on proposed rules for pensions dashboards, relevant to the providers that it regulates.

It follows a similar consultation published at the end of last month by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Pensions dashboards are secure digital interfaces that show users simple information about their state, work-related and personal pensions that are not yet in payment.

Under the proposed rules set out in the FCA’s consultation paper (62 pages / 1.44MB), 117 providers of personal pensions in accumulation must participate in the dashboard, connecting their personal and stakeholder pension schemes, including self-invested personal pensions, to the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) digital architecture. Providers that only have pension plans in decumulation are excluded from the proposals.

The relevant providers will also have to comply with MaPS connection, security and technical standards, and - by the time of the dashboard rollout - be ready to receive requests to find pensions, search their records for data and provide information to users where there is a positive match.

The FCA said its proposals complemented the DWP’s separate consultation, which includes corresponding requirements for trustees and managers of occupational pension schemes. The FCA will also regulate commercial dashboard operators, known as qualifying pensions dashboards services (QPDS), and plans to consult on a separate framework for them later in 2022.

Tom Barton, pensions and savings expert at Pinsent Masons, said: “The general thrust of the FCA’s consultation is very similar to the one launched by the DWP earlier this month. As with that consultation, much of the really tricky technical and operational material is parked for the time being. For example, while personal pension providers will need to comply with MaPS standards, those standards will be set out at a later date.”

“The most complex area for personal pension providers will be data security, data quality and delivering value data to the dashboard – including capital amounts, income and projections - in the required format. A potentially even more significant FCA consultation will come in mid-2022 when it consults on the regulatory framework for commercial dashboard operators,” he added.

Providers participating in the pensions dashboards system are likely to be considered independent data controllers, with the Information Commissioner’s Office responsible for investigating and taking action over breaches of data protection law. The pensions dashboard programme is expected to issue a UK GDPR publication in summer 2022 with more details about the role of individual consent in the way dashboards operate.

The FCA pensions dashboard consultation will close on 8 April 2022.

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