The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has listened to industry concerns about the timetable for connecting schemes to the pensions dashboard.
Under the original plans, largest schemes would have been required to connect between April and June 2023, but now the DWP is granting an extension.
Following calls from the sector, including the Personal and Lifetime Savings Association calling on the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for a longer implementation period, the bigger schemes will have an extra two months to connect, by 31 August 2023, as set out in the draft regulations.
Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon, said: “After a few days of turmoil, it’s good to know that the government is 100% committed to making pensions dashboards happen at the earliest opportunity. These will be a real game changer for savers, helping them to reconnect with their pensions, by seeing them all in one place online, and improving pension engagement.
“It’s important that everything is in place before schemes and providers begin to connect to the pensions dashboards ecosystem, so there’s still a lot of work to be done.
“The connection timetable is extremely ambitious, especially for the first staging cohort of the largest pension schemes, due to connect between April and June 2023. We’re pleased that the DWP has listened to the industry‘s concerns and agreed to extend the first staging connection time from three to five months.
“This means that the largest master trusts now have a staging window of 1 April 2023 to 31 August. This gives additional valuable time for master trusts to get ready to connect, making sure everything is in order. We’re hoping that the FCA will follow suite once they respond to their consultation setting out the timeline and requirements for providers of contract-based schemes.”
Data must be ready
While schemes will have an extra two months to connect to the dashboard, pension minister Guy Opperman has urged them to have all their data sets prepped as early as possible.
“For many people, a pension is the most significant financial investment they will make in their life. That is why the introduction of pensions dashboards is so important,” he said. “Clear pensions information at the touch of a button, including on the state pension, will ensure savers are better informed and more engaged, while helping people to plan effectively for retirement, as well as to find lost and forgotten pension pots.
“The building and initial testing of the digital dashboards architecture is already well underway. My message to the trustees and managers of pension schemes of all types and sizes is simple: get data ready.”
The first version of the dashboard, when made available, will allow people to find their pensions and view information about their value, the DWP said.
The experience will be enhanced further as the use of dashboards will become more commonplace.