With recent attention having been focused on the AFPS15 remedy (formerly known as McCloud), it would be reasonable for even the most ardent of Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS) watchers to have missed the progress being made on Pensions Dashboards. So what are they, who is affected, and when will they be available to members?
Pensions dashboards will be online platforms (in some cases Apps) for individuals to access information, in one place, about their various pensions, including state pensions.
It is also anticipated that the dashboards will include forecasts of deferred pensions. All occupational pension schemes will eventually be required to conform to Pensions Dashboards legislation, but the initial draft regulations only cover schemes with 100 or more active or deferred members.
Those in receipt of their pension before the dashboards are introduced will be excluded from the initial regulations.
In its initial consultation (January 2022 to which Government’s response is still awaited), the Government outlined that in the long-term pensions dashboards can help with the following objectives:
- Increase individuals’ awareness and understanding of their pension information and estimated retirement income to build a greater sense of control and ownership.
- Reconnect individuals with lost pension entitlements.
- Increase engagement with more people accessing impartial guidance and financial advice.
- Support the guidance and advice processes by providing people with access to their pensions information at a time of their choosing.
- Enable individuals to make more informed choices in the decumulation phase by making it easier to access some of the information on which to base their decisions (this refers to options not currently available to AFPS members).
On 28th June 2022, the Government launched its second consultation. This latest consultation concerns “Dashboards Available Point” (DAP), which is the date from which pensions dashboards services will be made available to all members of the public, and the regulations required to allow bodies to share information so that dashboards can be workable.
What we know at the moment is that schemes such as AFPS are expected to complete their AFPS15 remedy work first (by October 2023). The aim is to complete the dashboard work for the large public sector schemes (such as AFPS) within the following 2 years.
Due to the complexities of the AFPS 2015 remedy, Government has specifically highlighted that dashboards may quote more than one estimate of future benefits, allowing for Deferred Choice Underpin (DCU) selections to be compared.
At the Forces Pension Society, we applaud the aims of the pensions dashboards. However, it is too early to say how useful these new facilities will be given the enduring complexities of military pensions – we will continue to monitor developments.