Delay to pensions dashboards timetable is a ‘huge let down for consumers’
Delays to a timetable to eventually enable people to see all their pension pots in one place online are a “huge let down for consumers”, it has been claimed.
The Government said more time is needed for the complex build of pensions dashboards to be set up.
Pensions dashboards would help people to plan for their retirement and see where there may be shortfalls they need to make up.
Pension schemes were due to start connecting to dashboards from August 31 2023 and dashboards were expected to be available to the public next year.
Some experts expressed frustration at the latest announcement, saying the industry has been left in “limbo”.
Others said a reset is appropriate to work through complex technical solutions and challenges.
Rachel Vahey, head of policy development at AJ Bell, said: “This is a huge let down for consumers.
“Dashboards had the potential to empower pension savers but they’ve been badly let down by a project that has over-promised and under-delivered.”
She added: “The public and industry now are left rudderless, with no idea of the current state of play.”
She said there is now “no date” for the dashboards’ launch – with “major doubts about whether the project can be delivered before the next election”.
In a written statement, work and pensions minister Laura Trott said the project is a significant undertaking, “requiring the development of new technology that will permit individuals to find their pensions by searching thousands of pension schemes which collectively hold millions of pensions records”.
She added: “More time is needed to deliver this complex build and for the pensions industry to help facilitate the successful connection of a wide range of different IT systems to the dashboards digital architecture.
“Given these delays, I have initiated a reset of the Pensions Dashboards Programme in which DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) will play a full role.
“The new chair of the Programme Board will develop a new plan for delivery.”
Former pensions minister Sir Steve Webb, who is now a partner at consultants LCP, said: “This latest delay in the rollout of pensions dashboards to the public is deeply frustrating.
“The end goal, of a website where people can see all of their pensions in one place, would be of huge value to pension savers.
“It will help people to find pension pots they have lost track of and will enable them to rationalise and make best use of the pots that they do have.
“The Government must ensure that any delay is kept to an absolute minimum. The lack of a firm new timetable will leave industry in limbo and this uncertainty must be resolved as soon as possible.”
Becky O’Connor, director of public affairs at PensionBee said: “It is disappointing but not wholly unexpected that the pensions dashboard project – beset with difficulty from the beginning – is facing another delay.
“People’s inability to keep track of their pensions is a growing problem.”
Yvonne Braun, director of policy, long-term savings, health and protection at the Association of British Insurers, said a reset is appropriate.
She said: “With more than £26 billion in unclaimed pension pots, pensions dashboards have the potential to be transformational.
“They can boost customer engagement and help people reconnect with their forgotten pensions.
“We are pleased that Government remains thoroughly committed to the delivery of pensions dashboards but agree that a reset is appropriate to work through the complex technical solutions and challenges.”
She added: “There needs to be enough time for testing and onboarding, with the industry closely involved and learning shared widely, to ensure that dashboards work for consumers and that they can fulfil their potential.
“It is also important that work to help firms prepare to connect should continue during this reset.”
Rocio Concha, director of policy and advocacy at Which?, said: “It’s bitterly disappointing that the introduction of pensions dashboards is being delayed.
“Our research recently found only a third of people know what their pension is worth and it’s estimated that there are billions of pounds’ worth of lost pension pots out there, showing why this vital change is needed so consumers have all of their pensions information in one place.
“The days of people spending their entire career with one employer and receiving one company pension are over – instead the average person is set to build up an average of 11 different pension pots in their lifetime.
“With the threat of so much money being lost to dormant or unlocated pensions, the need for dashboards is greater than ever. The Government must commit resources to getting pensions dashboards back on track and set a clear timeline for implementation in order for millions of people to benefit from this crucial change.”