Can divisions over single versus multiple dashboards be overcome?

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People with a private pension consider their provider’s website to be the most convenient way to see all their pensions in one place, ahead of online banking and a mobile banking app, a survey by the Association of British Insurers has found, also showing that one in five currently don’t access their pension information at all. 

Nearly half (49%) of those with a private pension would prefer their provider’s website over a government service (20%), a survey of more than 2,000 people carried out by Populus for the ABI claims. 
Source: ABI
It also found that 19% do not access pension information at all, and that there are differences between age groups in how people want to access information; even though all prefer a digitial channel, 18-34-year-olds would prefer a mobile banking app (54%), 35–54-year-olds preferred online banking (41%) and those 55 and over their pension provider’s website.  

The government has asked the Money and Pensions Service to develop and run a publicly hosted pensions dashboard and wants to see this complemented by commercial providers’ own dashboards. 

Rob Yuille, head of long-term savings, said: “To make it easier for people to engage, both government guidance services and private companies, like pension providers and banks, need to be able to offer Pension Dashboards. Employers, charities and trade unions could also provide these services, so that people can access the information wherever is comfortable and convenient for them.” 

Anthony Rafferty, managing director, Origo, which prototyped a working dashboard in 2017 and has been helping to deliver the dashboard infrastructure, said the ABI data shows that people want to be able to access their data “in the way that suits their lifestyle – where they feel most confident and comfortable.” 

But the ABI data is at odds with research carried out by the Department for Work and Pensions, said Gregg McClymont, director policy and external affairs at master trust the People’s Pension. Ahead of its 2018 consultation, the DWP conducted 35 qualitative sessions across the country, saying it found “a strong, if not quite universal” preference among users for a single dashboard with a single point of access, sponsored by the government and which provides information without selling products. 

The same research showed that users “tended to view commercial organisations (including pension providers) with some suspicion but may prefer to use their own bank due to higher levels of familiarity and trust”, the DWP said. 

McClymont questioned therefore why the department considers commercial providers to be necessary, saying that public attitudes have not changed. He cited a study by ComRes which found in November 2019 that the public by a margin of two to one would trust a government owned public dashboard versus dashboards run by commercial providers. 

“It is vital that when the dashboard is first launched it is secure, simple, and has the confidence of the public. The government’s own research showed that there was strong public support for a single, non-commercial dashboard first, with feedback highlighting concern around security and being sold [to],” he said.  

“The only way to guarantee this is for the publicly-funded dashboard to be launched ahead of any commercial incarnations, which is a view shared by peers across the political divide who debated this very issue in the House of Lords this week.” 

Debate by the peers centred on whether, given the pace of MaPS and the urgency of the ABI to allow commercial dashboards, this could lead to consumers only having access to commercial dashboards for some time. 

What do you think about people’s dashboard preferences and the government’s plans?
Gregg McClymont
Steven Cameron
Richard Smith