Richard James Published by: Richard James  

Richard James, the Pension Dashboard Programme (PDP)’s Programme Director, looks at the dashboard providers market and how the programme will work with a range of potential dashboard providers during our initial (alpha) testing phase.

At the Pensions Dashboards Programme (PDP), we’re busy putting together the digital architecture and technical standards that will make pensions dashboards work. Our colleagues at the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) are building a dashboard, which is the front-end that consumers will see and we expect that other organisations will do the same. We’re keen to grow this dashboard provider market, to ensure that pensions dashboards are as widely available as possible for consumers.

Ultimately, we aim to have a range of providers offering dashboards. Those could include banks, fintechs, pension providers or insurers. Providing a pensions dashboard will be an FCA-regulated activity. So any new entrants will need to meet the FCA criteria, in addition to matching the required technical, conduct and design standards.

We don’t expect this market to spring up overnight but a wide choice of providers would create a series of benefits for both consumers and the organisations providing the dashboards.

The consumer benefit is largely one of choice and convenience. Having a pensions dashboard available at an organisation where an individual already has a financial relationship, would allow its use to be further integrated with other financial details. Imagine looking at your pensions dashboard at the same time as checking your bank statement for example.

For the organisations offering dashboards, the benefit comes from the relationship with the consumer. A bank or pension provider could extend the relationship they have already, or create one with new customers. A pensions dashboard could help them serve existing customers better by putting them more firmly in control of their finances. It also provides an opportunity to engage with people while they’re planning their retirement.

Testing to refine the dashboard opportunity

We are working with the MaPS dashboard and three potential commercial dashboard providers, Aviva, Bud and Moneyhub, during our initial (alpha) testing phase between December 2021 and June 2022. The primary objective of working with a range of organisations at this stage is to refine the onboarding process, so that we can provide a smooth process for all future dashboard providers that need to connect to the ecosystem.

Our testing will also support the development of the necessary technical and design standards for dashboards. Much of the objective for these standards is to mitigate potential consumer harms, such as individuals making detrimental financial decisions after using a dashboard or failing to understand the information they see.

We need to define what we must standardise and where we can allow providers flexibility to meet the needs of specific user segments. The testing will help us determine what good looks like and what we need to mandate for future dashboards. We’re already carrying out user research and our alpha testing will consolidate our initial learnings.

We will also be able to test the commercial proposition. To see how layering value-add services around the dashboard can work. Dashboards themselves are not allowed to make calculations for example but this facility might be on offer elsewhere to support consumers. Our testing with the early-connecting providers will help us understand what will and what won’t help dashboard users.

Working with commercial and non-commercial providers will allow us to create the right approach and framework for all future providers. We can create clear calls to action and updates for those looking to enter the market, publishing information and guidance for onboarding potential dashboard providers.

We’re committed to sharing our progress, to support any organisation that wishes to develop a pensions dashboard in the future. At PDP, we are agnostic about which dashboard individuals should use. The important thing is that they use one and gain a greater understanding of their retirement savings as a result.

So, if your organisation is potentially interested in becoming a dashboard provider, I’d encourage you to start familiarising yourself with the material we’ve already published on our dashboard provider hub. And to register your interest with us by emailing [email protected], so that we can keep you up to date as our work progresses.