The Association of British Insurers (ABI) is charging providers £50,000 each for a place on the project group running the development of the pensions dashboard, New Model Adviser® has learned.

Announced in last year’s Budget, the aim of the pensions dashboard is to allow savers to view all their pension pots in one place digitally.

The Treasury wants providers to launch the dashboard by 2019, with the ABI managing the project.

Last September 12 providers signed up to the project group for the pensions dashboard system, and said they will help to get a prototype model set up by March this year.

A contract seen by New Model Adviser® shows that each of the providers have to pay £50,000 to the ABI for a place on the project group.

‘The role of the project group is to take routine or operational decisions on delivery of the project and to identify recommendations on high-level issues for referral to the steering group,’ the document said.

The steering group is chaired by the Treasury and meets once every six weeks to report on the progress of the project and ‘take high-level decisions regarding the project’.

This means those providers on the project group influence how the pension dashboard is developed.

The contract said by May 2017 the prototype of the dashboard will show ‘back-end data-sharing infrastructure from consumer login, to ID verification, pension matching, and data collection and provision to the consumer’. By this point, open standards for data will be reached and it will have ‘identified and documented the costs associated with delivery of the back-end pension dashboard infrastructure’.

When contacted, Yvonne Braun, director of long-term savings and protection at the ABI, said the £50,000 fees were being used to develop the dashboards. 

‘As we have been clear from the beginning, the 17 pension companies involved in the pensions dashboard prototype are contributors,' she said.

‘They are contributing time, expertise and the funding needed to make this ambitious project happen. This is a ground-breaking initiative involving the rapid development of new technologies, requiring professional project management and IT and legal expertise. The ABI’s leadership role is helping keep costs as low as possible.’

Carrot or stick?

Some have questioned whether all providers in the market, particularly closed-book providers and DB schemes, will get behind the pension dashboard if the government does not require them to.

While the Treasury and FCA have not imposed regulation enforcing all providers to cooperate with the project, the economic secretary to the Treasury Simon Kirby, said last year the government will consider using legislation to force providers to contribute to the pension dashboard if they are not forthcoming.

‘If there are difficulties with getting people on board, then we will certainly look at legislation or regulation to make it happen,’ Kirby said.

Yesterday, the Financial Times reported that Margaret Snowdon, a member of a Treasury pension dashboard steering group, has said the government should force some players to comply with the project.

‘DB pensions are where there is most resistance and reluctance,’ Snowdon, who is also a non-executive director of the Pensions Regulator (TPR) said.

‘The government needs to act now to prepare the ground for compulsion in 2021, as it would be rather foolish to wait until 2019 to then say we need to get started,’ she added.