/ Money

A pensions dashboard – what should that look like?

Retirement planning

From our health and fitness to finances and travel, we’ve increasingly moved online to manage our lives. Now imagine you could better manage your retirement savings by simply downloading an app or logging in online – what would that look like and how would you use it?

The pensions dashboard has the potential to transform the way in which people interact with their retirement savings whether that’s seeing all your pension pots in one place, locating ‘lost’ pensions, or taking action to improve your finances – the dashboard promises to move us light years ahead of where the pensions sector currently stands.

In our pensions dashboard report, which we launched today, we gave a series of recommendations aimed at the government and industry to help make sure the project is a success for consumers.

But the dashboard will only be a success if people actually use it. And if those who should actually be using the dashboard aren’t the driving force behind it, then it risks ending up a wasted opportunity.

Dashboard debate

So what should it look like? Well, recently there has been much debate over the benefits and risks of multiple dashboards for all your different pots versus a single dashboard.

Fundamentally, your dashboard should be tailored to your individual needs and financial situation.

Introducing multiple dashboards could offer savers more of a choice over how and where they can access their pension information, and organisations could present this vital information in the best way for their customer base.

However, there are concerns that allowing commercial dashboards could result in providers promoting or recommending products which may not be in the best interests of the consumer.

And that’s why we’ve called for robust regulation of dashboard providers, including a requirement for standardised and consistent information across both government and commercial platforms.

Savings information

Being able to trust the information you’re getting from the dashboard is critical. All savers need to be able to trust where the information comes from, and this is especially so if it involves sharing personal data.

Trust could be achieved through a non-commercial pensions dashboard, and potentially one hosted by the government’s new single financial guidance body.

However, given that currently, only 36% of consumers say that they use government advisory bodies as an information source on their retirement options combined with the low levels of uptake of existing services such as Pension Wise, this might not be the only solution.

Your pension savings

A pensions dashboard is a great opportunity for the sector to radically change the way people think about their retirement funds. It has the potential to make the most of technological advances to increase consumer engagement.

But limiting innovation or reducing competition in the sector risks limiting the impact of the project and ultimately failing to get the significant number of disengaged pension savers thinking about their retirement funds.

So how can we make sure this dashboard works for you? How would you want to use the dashboard? What would you expect to see on it? Would you trust a dashboard that was hosted by your pension provider? Do you think a government dashboard could foster much-needed innovation?


The fundamental fact is that no matter what advice is available, the products remain the same as before and the choice is a matter of looking at these products and selecting those that suit best. Although many people have similar financial needs, pretty much everyone has their own individual requirements, financial outlook and savings balance. Thus any advice given must be general and then honed to a personal level by that individual. My car dashboard gives information about what the car is doing at that moment, what reserves are left and what equipment is being used. The financial dashboard -a somewhat trendy and unnecessary name – should give information about what the personal financial situation is at that moment, what reserves are available and what activity is currently being undertaken. Maybe some kind of option list could be included, based on everything shown on the dashboard. Someone has to update each dashboard and enter data to it in order to make it work. Who? I am tempted to suggest that currently, anyone who plans for the future will know what they have invested and will have thought their options through. They will have statements from any financial company they use and will know what’s what and where everything is. So, who is the dashboard for? What decisions will it enable us to make that we couldn’t make without it? I feel I’ve missed the plot here and await further explanation from those who like dashboards and know how to use them.

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You’re right about everything being online, now. It occurs to me that a great deal of our life is tied to our email addresses. If those vanished, or ceased to work for any reason, the amount of time and work it would take to sort things out doesn’t bear thinking about.

As I already know were all my pensions pots are, I see this as a great boon to scammers.

“hello, we’re ringing about your new pension dashboard”, “There was an issue setting up your account, can you confirm your user id, password, inside leg measurement and IQ so I can sort if out for you”.

And should I suggest we have a sweepskate on when the system housing the dashboard gets hacked , cos it’s only a matter of time?

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Sad world we live in isn’t it. Everyone with a landline needs to invest in a call screening phone, they’re not 100% effective but they’re not far off.

The problem, as I see it, is that most people don’t give enough attention to providing for their retirement.
I love the idea of a pensions dashboard because it will augment my already hawkish control of my assets, debts, opportunities and risks. Whilst people like myself will enjoy the feeling of greater control, we probably won’t be able to squeeze much further benefit from it and I think it unlikely that it would cause me to make decisions that I would not otherwise have taken, as I am already motivated to review and take action as necessary. The flawed reasoning, as I see it, is the notion that the fact of the pensions dashboard will somehow motivate the unmotivated to periodically review their pension provision and take action accordingly. In the real world there are very few people who contribute to debates of this nature on a Which? forum. I think most people will continue to be blissfully unmotivated whether or not the dashboard becomes available.

Mike Mills says:
24 February 2018

I think that all of the previous people have made very pertinent comments, which are hard to disagree with!

There could be a (statutory) link from each of our own pension dashboards to the independent Government one. The Government one would then show all our pensions.
So if people did not know about the Government one, they would see the link to it when they went to look at one of their pensions.
If they did know about it, the link would make things easier, and remind them of the independent one when they went to look at one of their pensions.

Chris C says:
1 March 2018

Anything to help everybody focus on long term financial planning for the ever extending human lifespan along with the ever decreasing attention span is a good thing especially now as data analytics/biz intelligence/social media/life apps all communicate via various tech through dashboarding in the corporate, industrial & private sectors, home and personal environments. It’s an interface that we all take time to interact with as essentially we now quickly gain far more understanding of something to make better informed decisions from a nice colourful data “picture book” rather than a miserable thick set of documents that only inspires people who insist on reading instruction manuals or T&Cs.
For all the reasons above standardisation of design and regulation starting at the government end is crucial to ensure FSA protection and good commercial practice; trunk and branch approach.
The pension companies have more than enough tech savvy between them to collaborate with government to create a belts and braces SOTA unified dashboard that would move with the employee and give a “simple traffic light status” at any time so that pension decisions become more of an easier proactive thing during job changes or career stage checks (think about the credit check reports that are generated from Equifax etc).
This would be stacked in favour of the commercial companies as more people would be inclined to review their pension provision more often if a report is generated when a P45/P11D is issued or at least an email/text from HMRC to remind you to do so with the dashboard.
You take two things into retirement: health & pension – one arguably affects the other…
The dots are there to be joined between the dept of health and pensions and the financial interests – the algorithms are there to be deployed by twenty something IT maestro’s who want to create something amazing and ethical for the timebomb that is a growing and underfinanced retirement population.
Think on this – your cars get more health checks and regular attention throughout your lifetime than you would give yourself or your pension pot – all regulated & enforced by the government………………………..

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