‘Pensions dashboards’ have moved closer to reality in the UK with the body charged with making them happen having appointed Capgemini as digital architects.
Dashboards will enable citizens to access all their pensions data, including information about their state pension, via a single digital interface. They are being created to help tackle many people’s lack of willingness or ability to properly understand, and engage with, their retirement arrangements. Unclaimed pension pots’ value totals up to about £19bn, according to estimates.
The Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP) – part of the Money & Pensions Service (MaPS), an arms-length body sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) – is aiming to launch dashboards ‘from 2023’ and describes Capgemini’s appointment as a ‘major step towards bringing pensions dashboards to life’.
The tech and consulting company’s remit is to deliver what is known as the ‘pensions finder service’, consent and authorisation service, and governance register, which will form an important part of the dashboard ecosystem.
Seven pension providers in first tests
It is expected that there will eventually be multiple dashboards: one created by MaPS, plus dashboards run by pension providers, banks and fintech companies.
The UK’s plan to introduce dashboards was announced in the 2016 Budget with the aim of making them reality in 2019. But the timeline slipped.
Consumer lobby group Which? urged “no more delays” in January. Other countries, for example Australia and Sweden, already have dashboards, meaning the UK is playing catch-up in more than one sense.
Programme director Richard James, who joined the PDP in April, said that France-headquartered Capgemini’s appointment “marks the moment when dashboards move off the drawing board and become real”.
The programme now moves into a ‘develop and testing’ phase, with the priority on building software elements that will make dashboards work and testing the ecosystem.
Seven major pension organisations have stepped forward to be involved in the first tests, it was announced in July. The PDP said that it anticipates combined provider coverage of eventually more than 30 million pensions from the seven participating providers, which are: Aquila Heywood, Aviva, Capita, ITM, Legal & General, Mercer and Phoenix Group.
The PDP plans to ‘steadily’ expand the number of volunteer data providers it works with from ‘summer 2022’ with mandatory on-boarding due to start in 2023.
Identity service provider procurement to come
Hurdles to clear include overcoming challenges posed by the relatively large number and diversity of UK pension schemes to resolving how users will identify themselves. A separate procurement process for an identity service provider is planned.
The PDP is led by principal Chris Curry, who told Global Government Fintech in an interview earlier this year that his team’s biggest challenge overall was data quality, saying that dashboards would “only be as good as the data they can show.”
“We are very confident that we can construct the architecture, get the ecosystem and the governance frameworks right,” Curry told Global Government Fintech. “But the one thing we don’t know for certain is the quality of data in the pensions industry. Some places are really good and some places need work. It’s about making sure we give enough notice, and enough of an incentive, for all the pensions industry to get their data of good enough quality that it’s going to be helpful for individuals to see it.”
Curry said that there are “potentially 43,000 pension schemes out there that are going to need to supply us with data” and that the PDP does not “have the capacity or capability to bring in hundreds or potentially thousands of connections in one go.”
‘Schemes must be getting ready to connect’
The Pension Schemes Bill, which paved the way for dashboards, became the Pension Schemes Act 2021 seven months ago, setting in stone a legal obligation on pension providers to supply the data that will flow into the dashboards.
“We’ve already put in place the primary legislation needed to pave the way for pensions dashboards. Now the programme, in partnership with Capgemini and Origo, can start to implement the technical elements, bringing the delivery of the first functioning dashboards even closer,” pensions minister Guy Opperman said today.
“I have previously urged pension schemes to get their data ready for dashboards. My message remains – schemes should be improving their data quality as part of their preparations for participating,” he added. “The clock is ticking and this achievement is yet another reminder that schemes must be getting ready to connect.”
Aiming for a ‘seamless service’
Although this is a newly awarded contract, Capgemini – which has been appointed after a five-month procurement exercise – held a three-month contract, awarded through the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) in 2019, to deliver a ‘business case, roadmap and plan’ for the programme.
Capgemini will itself partner an Edinburgh-based fintech company, Origo, on the brief. Origo – which is sub-contracted to Capgemini – is also no stranger to the territory, having worked with HM Treasury and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) to build a prototype pensions dashboard, when the UK’s pension dashboard aspirations were working to the previous timeframe.
Capgemini’s managing director in the UK, Paul Margetts, said: “We are looking forward to working with the Pensions Dashboards Programme to support them in delivering a seamless service that will allow UK pension holders the control and visibility to take action and plan for the future.”
Origo’s chief executive, Anthony Rafferty, said his company was “delighted to be partnering with Capgemini to build the core architecture of pensions dashboards and working with PDP to help deliver the service for the benefit of UK pensions holders.”
‘EU regulator consults on pensions dashboards’ – our news story (27 July 2021) on the European Union (EU)’s pensions regulator, the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA), consulting on the development of pension tracking services and pension dashboards after a request from the European Commission for technical advice on best practice
‘“Data quality is our biggest challenge”: an interview with the UK’s pensions dashboards head’ – Global Government Fintech’s interview (8 February 2021) with Chris Curry
‘Data standards published for UK pensions dashboards’ – our news story (7 January 2021) on the PDP’s of a 94-page guide that sets out the information that all pension providers will be obliged to supply to ensure that data is consistent