The U.K. Department for Work and Pensions is seeking industry input about an online data tool that will help participants access retirement savings information in a single place.
The DWP said it was prepared to legislate for an industry-led retirement savings dashboard and wants pension and defined contribution providers, administrators, consumer bodies, financial services companies and technology suppliers to submit comments about the idea.
The DWP will ask retirement funds to provide their data to commercial dashboards and wants state retirement fund data to also be available via these dashboards, it said.
"We believe that multiple dashboards will improve choice for consumers, allowing them to use the dashboard that most meets their needs. However, these should exist alongside a non-commercial dashboard hosted by the single financial guidance body, offering an impartial service to those who prefer it, or who may not be targeted by the market," the DWP said.
Guy Opperman, U.K. minister for pensions and financial inclusion, said in September via a written statement to Parliament that "an industry-led dashboard, facilitated by government, will harness the best of industry innovation," as defined contribution plans put greater responsibility on individuals to make decisions about their retirement.
"I applaud the government for recognizing that such a complex and sensitive project as a pensions dashboard project can't be handed over to the private sector to run," said Gregg McClymont, director of policy for B&CE, provider of the £5 billion ($6.4 billion) People's Pension, in an emailed comment. "Putting the single financial guidance body in charge, as we've long called for, is in the public interest and a welcome proposal. The emphasis on building a non-commercial dashboard initially, is crucial if the major benefit which the dashboard offers — a single register that allows savers to see all their pensions in one place — is to be realized. That's the big prize, rather than a commercial tool for providers to market their services."
Frank Field, a member of parliament and chairman of the Work and Pension Select Committee, in a letter urged Mr. Opperman to commit to legislation compelling firms to provide customer data for the retirement savings dashboard.
Mr. Field said in the letter: "The government must make clear that it is going to bring forward legislation to require firms to provide access to customer data. Without compulsion, there will be no level playing field and not all firms will choose to provide data. To make the dashboard happen, there needs to be a secure authentication mechanism to verify the identity of customers, along the lines of the government's verify service. There is a clear role for government to play in providing this."
The consultation comment period will be open until 11 a.m. Greenwich Mean Time on Jan. 28.