The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) have launched two consultations on the rules and standards for pensions dashboards that will impact what savers will see.
The new consultation paper on the regulatory environment for pension dashboard services (PDS) businesses includes guidelines that will govern user interactions and the presentation of information.
The regulations will let information be exported from pension dashboards to the user or to the PDS company, which can offer “post-view” services to assist users in deciding what to do next. Users will be able to grant their financial advisors or MaPS guidance professionals access in the meantime.
People’s Partnership director of policy Phil Brown says: “At first glance, the FCA’s proposals will focus the dashboards initiative on engagement with pensions and ban explicitly commercial uses of third-party dashboards. The FCA is right to put consumer protection first. Commercial use of pensions dashboards, including dashboard enabled transactions, should only come when customer behaviour on pension dashboards is well understood.”
PLSA director policy & advocacy Nigel Peaple says: “The publication today of draft rules and standards which Qualifying Pensions Dashboard providers must adhere to are a welcome next step towards making dashboards a reality. Industry and consumer groups will need to assess the proposals in detail before feeding back on the consultations.
“However, it is essential that dashboards are safe for savers so, now, more than ever, everyone should focus on doing dashboards well rather than quickly. Even after the new rules and standards are settled in the summer of 2023, extensive user testing will be required to ensure they work in practice. We anticipate at least 12 to 18 months’ of user testing will be needed from the summer of next year before Dashboards can be launched to the public.”
Broadstone pensions dashboard delivery manager Jon Pocock says: “Pensions dashboards have the power to improve consumer engagement with their pensions and encourage them to start thinking earlier about the income they will need in retirement. However, providing the mechanisms for dashboards could leave the individual vulnerable to harm unless the regulatory framework is robust and balanced.
“The FCA consultation on their proposed regulatory framework provides potential dashboard providers, pension providers, schemes and other interested parties the opportunity to provide views on how those controls should be established. Alongside the design standards that the Pensions Dashboards Programme is developing, the framework should provide clarity on what dashboards are permitted to do with the data provided and ensure consistency between different dashboard providers. This is critical to give schemes confidence on how individuals will see information and how it is being utilised.
“Broadstone will be responding to both this consultation and an earlier one from the Pensions Regulator.”
Quietroom director Simon Grover says: “Pension dashboards will change the way that people interact with their pensions and today’s consultation marks another important milestone in the dashboards programme.
“How dashboards are presented and communicated will have a huge impact on how users will respond, and we need to ensure that savers are not inadvertently nudged to do the wrong thing.
“The focus on presenting information in a clear, comprehensible, accessible and inclusive manner is clearly central to the success of dashboards. User testing and continual refinement will be crucial in delivering a positive saver experience, and we need an agile approach to ensure dashboards evolve in light of experience and feedback.”