Richard Smith, Industry Lead at the Industry Delivery Group (IDG), provides an update on activity relating to the industry working groups, looking at expressions of interest, resourcing, data scope, research with pension providers and schemes, and the latest stage of the Pension Schemes Bill.
I joined the pensions dashboards programme in mid-November 2019 as Industry Lead with responsibility for planning, organising, and executing the industry working groups activity. Chris Curry has kindly lent me his quarterly blog spot to provide an update on our progress over the last three months.
Expressions of interest in joining the working groups
Since our call for expressions of interests (EoIs) at the end of August 2019, we have received emails from nearly 200 industry representatives from a wide range of consumer, fintech, and pensions industry sub-sectors.
It’s lovely to read these emails and witness the universal support and commitment to the pensions dashboards programme. We are very grateful to, and encouraged by, everyone who has expressed their interest in supporting the programme’s working groups. You’re an important part of this process and we value your offer to get involved.
If you haven’t been in touch yet, but would like to get involved, please send a short expression of interest telling us a little about yourself, your areas of expertise and interest to Pensions-DashboardIDG@maps.org.uk.
Anyone who’s worked on an industry-wide initiative like this will know that managing such a wide range of diverse voluntary support requires a core specialist “hub” team. So, a key focus in recent weeks has been growing our specialist in-house team (based in Pimlico in London) to define and lead the industry working groups activity.
One resourcing option that’s working well for us at the moment is secondments. This route helps us quickly bring in experienced resources to the team with both a deep understanding of the issues involved, and a thorough awareness of the work done on the dashboards initiative in recent years. If your organisation might be willing to second you to the MaPS IDG for, say, six months, this might be something for you to think about.
A key first area of working group activity will be to consider the specific items of people’s pensions data that pension providers and schemes should be required to supply for display on dashboards.
Strong feedback from some of the Scandinavian countries, who first developed national pensions dashboards years (or decades) ago, is that it’s absolutely critical to invest time upfront to agree data standards with all industry stakeholders, informed by the widest possible consumer research and evidence across all relevant consumer segments.
We have been considering how best to garner as broad a range of views as possible, reflective of the different consumer, fintech, and pensions industry sectors.
Working with our Steering Group, we are developing a Data Scope Paper on our latest assumptions for dashboards data across the whole pensions industry (building on the data standards used for the 2017 prototype dashboard, and subsequent work).
Our plan is to publish this Data Scope Paper in the coming months, and to ask for your comments on it, in particular providing additional evidence where this exists.
The first iteration of the industry working group on data will therefore be the “whole industry”.
A small focussed working group will then refine this data thinking as we move on through the Spring.
Research with pension providers and schemes
Another critical piece of the pensions dashboards jigsaw is a proper understanding of the challenges pension providers and schemes will face complying with the new compulsion laws to make their customers’ / members’ pensions data available to them via dashboards.
So we have commissioned some specialist, independent, qualitative research to explore these challenges through deep-dive interviews with sample pension providers and schemes. This research will take place on a completely anonymous basis.
If you represent a pension provider or scheme, our researchers may be contacting you now to arrange these discussions. Thank you in advance for your co-operation.
We see it as critical that the indicative findings from this research are played into the Spring data work mentioned above, in order to deliver a realistic plan for exposing pensions data to dashboards, in a way that most consumers will find useful.
Pension Schemes Bill
Finally, I’m sure you’re all as excited as we are to see the Pension Schemes Bill reach the House of Lords Committee stage, especially Part 4 of the Bill containing the dashboards provisions.
Whether you’re going to help us by providing input on data scope, or as a research subject, as a volunteer, or a secondee, what’s really helpful is when you bring to the debate a thorough understanding of the core issues underpinning the dashboards initiative.
Many of these issues will be debated by the Noble Lords and Ladies in Committee from the last week in February. I’m sure I won’t be the only one keen to track the debate and read everything available as it takes shape. This is an important and exciting time for us at the IDG and fundamental to this great service we are working towards.