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DWP unveils Pensions Dashboards rules…but all schemes won’t be included until after 2026

Tom Selby, senior analyst at AJ Bell
Tom Selby, head of retirement policy, AJ Bell

-Retirement savers could have to wait until after 2026 to see all their retirement pots in place online via Pensions Dashboards, the Government has confirmed (Pensions dashboards: consultation on the draft Pensions Dashboards Regulations 2022 (publishing.service.gov.uk))

-The confirmed staging timetable is as follows:

    • Large pension schemes will need to provide data to Dashboards between April 2023 and September 2024)

    • Medium-sized schemes will be brought in between October 2024 and October 2025

    • Small and micro schemes “expected from 2026”

– State pension details to be available from “day one” via Dashboards

-Care will need to be taken to ensure any missing pensions details as a result of staging are made clear to savers

Tom Selby(pictured), head of retirement policy at AJ Bell, comments:

“The rubber is about to hit the road as Pensions Dashboards move from theory towards reality. Dashboards have the potential to revolutionise retirement saving in the UK, making it easier for people to track their pension pots online.

“This is increasingly important as the combination of an increasingly transient workforce and automatic enrolment means more people are likely to build up multiple pension pots throughout their lives.

“In fact, the number of potentially lost or left behind pensions in the defined contribution master trust market is expected to increase to a whopping 27 million by 2035.

“Some estimates suggest people can change jobs up to 11 times during their working lives – potentially building up a new pension each time.

“Having pensions scattered all over the place is not ideal for a number of reasons. Multiple pensions can be hard to track and it makes planning your retirement more complicated.

“Savers who combine their pensions can also benefit from more choice and lower charges, and Dashboards have the potential to make doing this a lot easier.”

Practical challenges

“Over the longer term, Dashboards could become a valuable communication and engagement tool. However, the size of the practical challenge of getting people’s pensions online in a safe and clear way should not be underestimated.

“Anyone expecting Dashboards to be launched immediately with bells and whistles attached might be disappointed by the relatively slow staging timetable outlined today.

“Some savers may need to wait over 4 years to see all their pensions online via Dashboards, although for those with pensions in larger schemes it should be much faster.

“The Government has understandably focused on getting the biggest schemes to comply first as this is where the majority of pensions are held. Once a ‘critical mass’ of schemes has been reached and prototypes have been fully tested, Dashboards will then be made available to the public.

“Communication of the information that is and isn’t included via Dashboards will be absolutely critical in ensuring they gain legitimacy and allow people to make better-informed retirement decisions.”

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