Providers could be left disappointed in their efforts to build their own pension dashboards to support the Government’s initiative as discussions continue over the future of the service.
As first reported by Money Marketing, the Department for Work and Pensions took control of the project from the Treasury in October as the Government and industry attempts to set a framework for how consumers can view all their pension pots in one place by 2019.
Providers such as Aviva have argued that pension providers, banks, technology firms and others should be able to build their own “shop front” on the “plumbing” designed by the Government to improve competition and choice.
However, sources close to the discussions say that the DWP has expressed a preference for a single dashboard, which would not be accessible to advisers, and would only be available directly or through the forthcoming single public guidance body.
One source says: “Pension dashboards have huge potential to help consumers better understand their likely income in retirement, but inevitably they will then want to ask ‘what do I do next?’ Consumers should have the right to choose who they ask for help and advice. If the DWP converts the project from the federated model that was at the heart of the Treasury plans, to a single central system where help can only come from the new single guidance body, the benefit to consumers will be greatly reduced.”
The dashboard project’s website has contained references to multiple services for consumers since it was set up.
For example, one section reads: “Pensions dashboards will let you see all of your pension savings at the same time. You can choose which pension dashboard you use.”
A DWP spokesperson declined to comment on any decisions taken at this stage, but said that after launching a prototype earlier this year, feasibility testing will be done next year on multiple dashboard.
The Association of British Insurers, which is convening the project has been criticised for not ensuring advisers can access dashboards from the start.
A separate source with knowledge of early discussions says that the ABI and Government were highly aware of security risks, and would want to encourage consumers to load up their dashboards in meetings with advisers so that IFAs could view the output anyway.
The ABI has defended its position on adviser access, saying that the option could still be open for advisers to see the dashboard’s output with client consent at a later stage.