The Pensions Regulator's decision to focus more on conditional data has been cautiously welcomed by the industry.
Most respondents to this week's Buzz said the watchdog was correct to move on from its work on common data standards. However, just over three out of ten contributors thought that now was not the right time to be doing so.
Question: Is TPR right to shift its focus from common data to conditional data?
A whole-hearted supporter of the watchdog's move explained: "Common data is so basic it doesn't give you enough information to pay the benefits correctly. TPR's focus should be on paying the right people the right amount at the right time and data is key to that."
But others said that the regulator should make sure common data standards were up to scratch before addressing any problems with conditional data. Some respondents also thought trustees had enough regulatory changes to contend with already and would not be able to prioritise this issue.
"Third party administrators' data is in much worse shape than in-house, especially where schemes have changed administrators several times in the past," added one contributor. "Much more time is needed as it can't all be done at the drop of a hat."
There were some who thought the regulator was primarily motivated by its obligation to protect the Pensions Protection Fund, while others suspected it was a ruse to hike PPF levies.
A minority thought that conditional data simply should not be a priority for schemes or the regulator.
"Conditional data does not have the same relevance and importance for all schemes," explained one respondent. "Common data is the important data to get right."
Another contributor asked: "If data is not clearly required for all schemes and thus should be in common data then what can TPR specify as required?"
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