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The Pensions Dashboards Programme, the initiative backed by the government's Money and Pensions Service, has launched a six week consultation with potential suppliers who will tasked with bringing the project to life. 

The companies will supply the digital engine which will make long-awaited Pensions Dashboards work.

The PDP also plans an industry-wide call in July and August for input on the data scope and data definitions published in working papers in April.

The consultation was delayed in April due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The programme has also entered the next stage of the process to build technology to enable savers to view all their pensions via their chosen dashboard.

The six-week consultation period will enable the programme to look at the readiness, capacity and capability of tech firms that might be interested in the work.

It is in preparation for a formal procurement process anticipated to start in the autumn.

The programme has also said it will convene a Data Working Group representing all sectors of the pensions industry. The group will help finalise a set of data standards later this year.

Chris Curry, principal of the Pensions Dashboards Programme at MAPS, said: “The pensions industry faced significant challenges as a result of Covid-19 and the lockdown.

"Firms were rightly focused on day-to-day operations and the immediate needs of their customers – but while that was going on, the Pensions Dashboards Programme has continued its work towards delivering the technology that will enable individuals to see all of their pensions information online, securely and all in one place.

 “We know the sector has responded well to the current crisis and there is enthusiasm to engage once again in the important detail of delivering Pensions Dashboards. We are now making good progress on a number of fronts and are ready to shape detailed data requirements with the help of the industry while also starting engagement with the tech firms which will help us build the dashboard ecosystem.

“The concept behind Pensions Dashboards is simple but there are still complicated technical and regulatory hurdles to overcome. The work of the next few months will be significant in helping us develop a timeline for the delivery of these services.”

MPs have urged the Pensions Regulator to help employees who do opt-out due to financial difficulties during the pandemic to re-enrol than would happen normally under auto-enrolment.

Almost 9 in 10 of eligible employees (88%, 19.2m people) have saved for retirement through their workplace pension: an increase from 55% in 2012 when automatic-enrolment began, DWP figures have said.

However, pension participation among self-employed people continued to fall from 21% in 2009/10 to 14% in 2018/19.

The annual total amount saved for eligible employees was £98.4bn in 2019, an increase of £5.3bn from 2018.

£40.5bn was saved into public sector schemes (41%), with £57.9bn (59%) saved into private sector schemes.DWP data from December 2019 showed 5.44m people were employed in the public sector (16%) compared to 27.55m (84%) people in the private sector.

Following the release of the data, Hargreaves Lansdown shared concerns about the pension savings figures for the self-employed.

Nathan Long, interim head of policy at Hargreaves Lansdown said: “The self-employed continue to be precariously placed with just a handful choosing to save into a pension, showing the existing incentives just don’t resonate. The Government will also be acutely aware that 41% of all pension contributions go to public sector employees that represent less than a fifth of all workers.”

Almost two thirds of Britons surveyed (62%) that had received recent financial advice said they had detailed knowledge of Pension Freedoms, compared to a third (33%) of over-55s that had never received financial advice. 

Adviser tech firm O&M, part of fintech Iress, is to provide free CPD-qualifying webinars on drawdown for advisers.

The Coronavirus pandemic has forced a widespread rethink of retirement plans as 18% change their retirement age and 20% of over-55s have considered raiding their pension savings, according to a new report.

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