Pensions and financial inclusion minister Guy Opperman has warned schemes who do not have their data organised to the standard required for the pensions dashboard will face “draconian penalties.”
Opperman said he was "utterly committed" to ensuring the dashboard went ahead in a presentation at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) investment conference in Edinburgh today (12 March), but stressed schemes had to play their part better.
"The dashboard is the right thing to do and we continue working with delivery group," he said.
"There is clearly a requirement for data to be standardised, but schemes should be under no illusion - [they] should not be waiting for legislation to get their data ready and there will be draconian penalties for those who don't have it."
Opperman added there was now "no legitimate reason" for schemes to be underprepared.
He added: "Schemes need to invest to improving data now and have a long hard look at themselves if they are yet to do that."
This comes a day after Money and Pensions Service chairman Sir Hector Sants told the Work and Pensions Committee (WPC) yesterday that it was still "not possible" to answer when the dashboard would be ready.
Professional Pensions quizzed its Pensions Buzz respondents last month on whether their scheme would have its data ready for the pensions dashboard in 2020. More than half (52%) were unsure, ahead of a quarter who said they were not ready with many citing lack of clarification on exactly what will be required.
Opperman said the steadily growing self-employed market gave further weight to the need for auto-enrolment (AE) provisions and their accessibility on a dashboard.
He added it was "astonishing" the self-employed were not being more engaged with.
He said: "The self-employed market is becoming more and more competitive and its astonishing there's not more engagement of them into schemes and funds when the government is trying to enable schemes and give opportunities to the self-employed to have pensions, like all the work on AE."
"We are going to great efforts to try to improve things for the self-employed."
The Pension Regulator’s (TPR) strengthened powers under the Pension Schemes Bill could lead to a revival of its clearance process, according to advisers and lawyers.
The long-debated Pension Schemes Bill has received parliamentary approval, guaranteeing its place on the statute book.
Some £20.1bn of defined benefit (DB) pensions were advised to transfer between 2018 and 2020, while £10.2bn were recommended not to transfer, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) data reveals.
Pension trustees will have much more involvement in business discussions and corporates will need to think more about pensions when the watchdog’s increased powers come into force, LCP says.
Mediation has been under-utilised historically as a means of dispute resolution in this area. Mark Blyth and Geoff Egerton think this is going to change.