More than four in five employers oppose the implementation of multiple pensions dashboards and any that do not include state pensions, the Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA) says.
The ACA found 82% of employer respondents were against the dual dashboard proposal in the second of a series of reports, published today (30 November), outlining the findings from its 2020 pension trends survey.
In addition, less than half have of employers have cleaned their data in readiness for a pension dashboard, despite continued warnings from pensions and financial inclusion minister Guy Opperman.
Speaking earlier this year at Society of Pension Professionals and Pension and Lifetime Savings Association conferences, Opperman said "draconian" measures would be introduced for those who did not have all their data ready, and confirmed no provisions would be made for disorganised schemes.
ACA chairman Patrick Bloomfield said: "While there is strong support for the dashboard, there are warning signs about what is expected and when. The pensions dashboard has the potential to help employees understand their pensions, which is really important, given that most employers don't provide their employees with access to financial advice."
Despite employers' mixed feedback on the Pensions Dashboard Programme, the ACA found support for the Pension Schemes Bill - which will be considered by House of Lords this month - was broadly positive.
Almost three quarters (72%) of respondents to its research said they support The Pensions Regulator's (TPR) much-criticised ‘fast track' and ‘bespoke' compliance proposals.
"The government and TPR should be encouraged by the broad support for the defined benefit (DB) funding code," Bloomfield said. "But with one in four employers against the general direction of travel, work is needed to resolve the challenges for schemes still open to members and making the new framework fit for a post-Covid world."
Over half (52%) also threw their support behind the use of collective defined contribution (CDC) being made available to employers, with 12% flagging interest in the use of such a scheme themselves.
Although labelling growth in support for the offering of CDC "encouraging", ACA pension schemes committee chairman Peter Williams said advances over time to suit other CDC designs was crucial.
"The regulations must also open up to support multi-employer CDC schemes, and there is welcome support for master trust CDC solutions too," he said.
Support for DB consolidation has also taken a sharp upwards trajectory since the ACA's 2019 research. The association's report this year showed support from 75% of respondents for consolidation, up from 39% last year. A majority of respondents said DB consolidation would be "more likely" were benefits to be simplified as well.
"The quite rapid advance in support of DB consolidation probably reflects mounting concerns at some employers over the future in both economic and regulatory terms," Williams noted.
"It's a shame the Pension Schemes Bill did not incorporate consolidation measures to back up the recent guidance from the regulator but we are encouraged by the suggestion that another pensions bill will take this forward in the near future."
Today's report from the ACA follows the first in its series published on 23 November, which found broad support for reform of pensions tax.
Read more findings from the ACA's 2020 pension trends survey here:
In this week’s Pensions Buzz survey we want to know whether you agree The Pensions Regulator’s approach to the defined benefit (DB) funding code is the correct one.
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