Connecting to the ecosystem


All pensions providers and schemes with more than 100 active or deferred members will need to connect to the pensions dashboards ecosystem. Providers need to decide whether to connect directly or via a third party, known as an integrated service provider (ISP), which will create its own API connections with the dashboard and plug in the provider, alongside other clients.

The ISP market is new but developing steadily, with more providers coming forward to offer this service.

Connecting directly to the dashboard system will be a significant undertaking typically requiring specialist resource and experience in order to meet the technical standards and requirements outlined in the code of connection. It may also require improvements to your IT and network infrastructure.

Steps to connection

at least 12 months prior to onboarding

Begin considering how you will connect to the pensions dashboards ecosystem via open standard APIs and the security protocol for user managed access (UMA).

Discuss with your third party administrator (TPA) or pension software provider on how they are planning to help their clients connect. You may wish to partner with an alternative provider to help you connect.

Ensure you factor any third parties into your plans – such as external additional voluntary contribution (AVC) providers, where you do not hold full details of the AVC entitlement with the main scheme information.

Bear in mind that 24/7 connectivity to the industry ecosystem could deliver lot of web traffic to your systems. You may want to use the services of your suppliers or other third parties to help manage this aspect of your service delivery to reduce the impact on your other customer-facing systems.

at least 6 – 12 months prior to onboarding

Determine how you will connect to the ecosystem (dashboards) – either directly or via an ISP (third party middleware solution provider). The following considerations may be helpful:

  • is your administration digitally enabled and can it support the open API and security requirements for connecting to the ecosystem or will you require an alternative ISP solution to connect
  • does your organisation have the required expertise to meet the technical standards and code of connection that you will need to comply with? You can access early versions of these via the consultation’s supporting information page or will you require an alternative ISP solution to connect
  • would an ISP solution provide any advantage in protecting against the impact of the potential traffic from the ecosystem and its effect on the performance of your core systems? Bear in mind that you will get a find request from every pension owner who requests to find their pension. Current estimates are 6 – 9 million users annually

Identify the solution your software provider or third party administrator has proposed for connecting into the ecosystem

In the event you use an ISP solution how much work will it be to map required data items to this ISP? If your ISP solution provider is working with clients that have already onboarded early, they should provide an indication of how this will work.

at least 3-6 months prior to onboarding

You have agreed an approach for connecting to the ecosystem and are working with your software provider and/or third party administrator to plan the implementation and testing of the chosen solution.

Consider when you are due to connect and how this may affect your planning and the implementation approach you may have agreed with third parties. Do your current plans provide sufficient time to prepare or are there elements of your preparation you need to realign to ensure you are ready?

Consider the potential possibility and advantages of voluntarily connecting prior to your compulsory staging date, with your software provider and/or third party administrator.

Any required data mapping to facilitate any ISP solution has been planned and is progressing.

at least 0-3 months prior to onboarding

Your implementation plans should be in progress and aligned with your staging date.

Together with your software provider and/or administration provider your plan may include testing of find and view functionality prior to your staging date.

You have familiarised yourself with the onboarding process and have all the necessary information and support in place to begin onboarding.

You have assessed the additional workload that may be created from your customers using the dashboard and identified the most appropriate channels to deal with queries arising from the ecosystem.