Pension savers will be pleased to hear that the government has finally committed to the so-called pensions dashboard.
This is a technological initiative to allow pension savers to see all of their savings pots in one place. State Pension entitlement data was set to form the cornerstone of the pensions dashboard.
Doubts have been cast about whether the platform would prove useful without the backing of government and access to State Pension data. In July, there was widespread speculation that the proposals could be scrapped.
However, the concept appears to have received backing from the government – as long as the industry takes control of the initiative. This could mean that the costs involved with the project are borne by the financial services industry.
Esther McVey MP, the work and pensions secretary, says: “The pensions landscape is transforming and the dashboard offers a great opportunity to give people straightforward access to their pension information in a clear and simple format – bringing together an individual’s savings in a single place online.
“It’s clear there is broad support for the concept of a dashboard and its potential to empower those putting money away for their futures.
“By taking a leading role, and harnessing their knowledge, industry can develop a dashboard that works for pensions holders – and government will help facilitate this.”
The government is therefore giving backing to the idea, if led by the pensions industry.
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Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon comments: “The whole point of the pension dashboard is so people can see all their pensions online in one place.
“Government needs to facilitate this by legislating to compel all schemes and the state to provide pension detail when asked to do so. Without this the pension dashboard risks being half-baked.”
Steve Webb, director of policy at Royal London and former pensions minister agrees: “This announcement is a huge breakthrough after a period of uncertainty.
“There is much that the industry can do to deliver a dashboard, but only the government can supply vitally important state pension data and only the government can legislate to make sure that the dashboard’s coverage is comprehensive.”
However Ms Smith caveats: “For the time being we remain cautiously optimistic that government support continues and await the publication of the feasibility study which is key to the industry being able to move forward with developing the dashboard initiative.”
Finally Mr Webb says: “Backed by this renewed commitment by the government, the whole pension industry now needs to work together to drive forward this much-needed initiative”.