The journey has just begun
The pensions dashboard roadshows might be over but, we’re just getting started.
The Tech Sprint held in April kicked off the dashboard prototype demonstration phase in a big way – inviting new and fresh perspectives to the table which could support the look and scope of dashboards in the future. Emphasising the quality and volume of work already completed in such a short space of time, the Tech Sprint highlighted the potential and opportunities Pensions Dashboards have to offer in supporting- customers.
The roadshows (organised by the ABI) took the Tech Sprint a step further, enabling those around the country to view the pensions dashboard prototype, ask questions and get involved. The last roadshow finished just yesterday (11/5) in our very own fair city of Edinburgh at Standard Life’s offices. Overall, the events were a real success encouraging and opening up that conversation and allowing for debate, discussion and planning.
And while it is still widely recognised that ‘we still have some work to do’ people have now stopped talking about ‘if it happens’ and are now focusing on ‘how’. Jamie Jenkins (Standard Life) raised a great point yesterday (11/5); at policy level, with the flat rate state pension, auto enrolment, workplace provision, things have started to stabilise and subsequently so has product flexibility. An area where there hasn’t been much focus in the industry is technology - and that's where he believes we’ll see huge changes happening over the next few years. So, the pensions dashboard is just the start...
Some of the major questions that came from the roadshows concentrated on governance, data and interoperability. Are we building the right architecture to support the vision, not just for today but for the next five years? And are we building the best engagement and outcomes for customers?
As the standards body for the industry, we are no stranger to building and maintaining quality, secure, scalable standards. Get the foundations right and everything else will follow. Just as we do in our everyday work albeit for Standards / Options Transfers and so on; for the prototype, we used our 28 years of experience to ensure the right structure is in place from the beginning, heavily supporting the development of the open standards, and so enabling organisations to cost-effectively and quickly connect to the dashboard. After all, it’s not just enough to have a dashboard – we must ensure that connections are sustainable and practical for the continued investment from the industry. It is vital that these standards be professionally managed to ensure continual quality, use and compliance.
Integration and Scale
The level of integration undertaken as part of the prototype work, is understandably, not representative of the anticipated scale of the challenge faced by pension companies between now and 2019. There is a world of difference between simulation and making all your administration systems “dashboard-ready”.
Going forward, there are two key priorities we see for the industry to meet the deadline 2019:
Firstly, there is a lot of talk about phasing; “Dipping our toe in the water in 2019 but not bringing all pensions online until years later”. That is planning to fail and it could leave consumers frustrated with little or no engagement with pensions dashboards and so disincentivised to make decisions about their future. Of course there is work to do, but it can be done if organisations start now.
Which brings me neatly to our second point; companies need to start sooner than later. Create a business case, get a budget approved quickly so that you can start the required development to ensure it makes the 2019 launch.
The journey to pensions dashboard success will be a long one, but a necessary one, and we’re already laying some great foundations for the big build to start.
You can view the Pensions Dashboard prototype here >