After extensive collaboration between DWP and its delivery partners, together with industry input, the draft Pensions Dashboards Regulations 2022 have been recently laid in parliament which marks a significant milestone in the delivery of pensions dashboards services. Alongside the regulations, DWP has also published the Government’s response to the further consultation on the minimum notice period for the Dashboards Available Point (DAP) and the disclosure of information between MaPS and TPR, and draft guidance for schemes wishing to apply to defer connection.
The Department will work closely with industry and key stakeholders over the coming months to develop the framework, as broadly set out in the response to the further consultation, that will inform the DAP.
The Department is also working with the Programme to connect State Pension data as part of the upcoming testing phase.
After considering the responses received to consultation paper (CP22/3) and having regard to the Pensions Dashboards Regulations that Government laid in Parliament earlier this month, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will soon finalise pensions dashboard rules for the pension providers it regulates. Making these rules will satisfy the statutory duty placed on the FCA by the Pension Schemes Act 2021. These rules, alongside the forthcoming PDP standards will give pension providers clarity and certainty on the obligations they must meet and the date by which they must meet them.
Government intends to make the FCA responsible for regulating commercial bodies that operate pensions dashboard services. It will achieve this by introducing a new regulated activity into the Regulated Activities Order (RAO). Once this legislative amendment is made, any firm wishing to operate a pensions dashboard service must (a) be or become FCA authorised; (b) obtain FCA’s regulatory permission to undertake the new regulated activity; and (c) meet the FCA’s requirements for firms undertaking this activity.
In advance of the RAO amendment, the FCA will publish a consultation paper later this year setting out its proposed regulatory framework for the operators of pensions dashboard services. PDP will publish its consultation on design standards alongside the FCA’s consultation. The consultations will run for 11 weeks and all interested stakeholders are encouraged to consider the papers side by side and to provide insight and feedback on the proposals they contain.
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) will be delivering a comprehensive package of communications to the schemes it regulates, in recognition that these are at different stages of awareness and preparation for the new duties. In June TPR published initial guidance for trustees to help them understand their duties. The guidance includes a checklist to help trustees track their progress, and is updated regularly as DWP’s legislation and our standards progress. TPR has also recorded a webinar for trustees, with participation from PDP and DWP.
TPR has also begun writing to schemes about their duties – all schemes can expect several communications, starting at least 12 months ahead of their deadline. TPR has also launched a ‘tracker’ survey issued to all schemes ahead of their duties, to better understand how schemes are preparing and any challenges they face. This valuable, anonymised information will help inform future communications and tools to ready schemes ahead of their duties.
TPR continued its internal preparations to be ready to monitor, and regulate, compliance with the duties. It will be consulting on its proposed compliance and enforcement policy end 2022.