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Petition backs UK's pensions dashboard project

Out-Law News | 23 Jul 2018 | 5:25 pm | 1 min. read

Nearly 85,000 people have signed a petition created in support of the 'pensions dashboard' initiative in the UK.

The government announced in 2016 that a new pensions dashboard would be created to allow savers to see their various retirement income streams in one place. The idea behind the initiative is to help people to make more informed decisions about their retirement savings.

Last year a prototype was developed. However, earlier this month the Times reported that secretary of state for work and pensions Esther McVey is considering scrapping the project.

The petition, set up by campaign group 38 Degrees, has called on McVey to stick with the plans to deliver the dashboard by the end of 2019. It said as many as 50 million pension pots could be lost by 2050 if there is no "official website to help workers to keep track of savings through their careers".

Financial services and technology law expert Angus McFadyen of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said he sees an imperative in the pensions dashboard.

"We have seen the UK government and regulators pushing banks to be more open with their data to enable new services and increase current account switching – surely the needs of the pension market are even greater," McFadyen said.

"We have the potential for continuing significant detriment if pensioners are unable to locate what they are owed. There is no end in sight for the advice gap. The cost of care is increasing as we all live longer and the future of the state pension is unclear. All this is placing more demand on individual resources and proper preparation for retirement," he said.

"Automation, and 'robo' advice and online guidance / retirement pathway services, are seen as the way to help the public with the challenges of the retirement journey – they will be less effective without the reliable data that the dashboard could have brought. Perhaps this is simply the next evolution. Open data in pensions could be taken forward in a different form by a regulator given existing market concerns, or by an industry body given the momentum that exists," McFadyen said.