It was announced earlier this morning that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has delayed its Pensions Dashboards Programme until 31 October 2026.
Pension schemes were supposed to start connecting to dashboards this August with dashboards being made publicly available late next year.
In light of this announcement, industry leaders have shared their thoughts with IFA Magazine.
Jon Pocock, Pension Dashboard Delivery Manager at independent consultancy Broadstone, said: “We welcome today’s statement by the Pensions Minister in that it provides clarity on the approach that DWP intends to take with connecting schemes to the pensions dashboard ecosystem.
“It does however leave very much unclear in terms of the timelines and how schemes are to view their own activity. The statement suggests that guidance-based staging dates will be determined by the end of the year, in consultation with the pensions industry. This does, however, leave a hiatus for many parties with knowing how to proceed.
“Until there is clarity on how rigid the guidance dates are and the flexibility schemes have to meet them or not then we anticipate, rightly or wrongly, that many schemes will simply defer acting.
“Our approach will be to encourage our clients to continue preparations, at an appropriate pace, and we will support them in this. We look forward to understanding how the timelines will develop and how the regulatory framework will be applied.”
Damien Bowler, Pensions Technical Manager at Curtis Banks: “The announcement of another delay to the dashboards is disheartening for both pension savers and advisers. When it was initially announced, it signalled a breakthrough moment for how consumers would be able to manage their pension. However, this significant delay has introduced a sense of uncertainty regarding the project’s ultimate completion. We all genuinely hope that it will indeed come to fruition within the newly revised deadline.“
Kate Smith, Head of Pensions at Aegon said: “We welcome the Pensions Minister’s announcement that a final connection date will be 31 October 2026 and set out in legislation. This gives more time to ensure that the pension dashboard ecosystem works and is fully tested, giving schemes and members confidence. And gives more certainty that pension dashboards will happen.
“Previously connecting dates for pension providers and schemes were set out in legislation by scheme size and type. These will be removed. We look forward to seeing more details on how the staging dates set out in the guidance will work and be managed by the pension dashboard programme to ensure that scheme connection points are evenly spread to avoid the risk of being left until the last minute of 31 October 2026, which could easily lead to a capacity crunch and overwhelm the pension dashboard ecosystem.”
Claire Trott, divisional director for retirement and holistic planning at St. James’s Place, comments: “Although it is disappointing that the dashboard is being yet again delayed it is more important that it is correct, not misleading and a real benefit to consumers. It would be worse to launch something that doesn’t provide any benefit, or only part of what is intended, this could mean that it fails to get engagement by those who most need this resource.”
Samantha Seaton, CEO of Moneyhub, said: “While appreciative of the complexities of the Pensions Dashboards Programme, the fact remains that people need to be able to retire and to live an appropriate lifestyle that a G7 country can be proud of.
“As we have said before, we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and having a starting point that can be continuously refined and optimised is preferable.
“The largest master trusts and personal pension providers are ready to connect to the ecosystem and they want to get on and focus on the subsequent benefits and we are already working with many of them when it comes to developing their own end to end pensions dashboard offering.
“While Pensions Dashboards will be a key ingredient for delivering Financial Wellness in the UK, working together as an industry we are already prepared to bring these ground-breaking solutions to consumers.”
Tim Box, Senior Consultant in LCP’s Pension Research team, commented:“The announcement today of the connection deadline of 31 October 2026 is an important and welcome step but until the forthcoming guidance is published uncertainty will remain for schemes and this is likely to result in reluctance by trustees and managers to re-engage with Dashboards.
“A key question that needs to be considered is how much weight will the guidance setting out the new staging timeline carry? For example, will it be mandatory for schemes to follow this in order to avoid a “last minute rush” in October 2026?
“We would encourage trustees and managers to continue to prepare for Dashboards, through useful exercises such as data-cleansing which will also have benefits for other projects, since today’s Statement confirms that the Government remains committed to Dashboards and that schemes will still have to connect in the future.”
Lily Megson, Policy Director at My Pension Expert, said:“The Pension Dashboard Programme was always an ambitious project, and one that is absolutely crucial for consumers across the UK. However, considering the consistent string of delays the project has faced, this latest delay is very disheartening.
“In the UK, pension engagement is extremely low – and has been for some time. According to My Pension Expert’s research, just 38% of UK workers actually know how much is saved in their pension, while even fewer (33%) have a financial plan in place for retirement. Consequently, the government must ensure consumers have the right tools to help them achieve the financially secure retirement they deserve.
“The dashboard delay is not an excuse to pause on wider support efforts for savers – ministers must remind savers that they are still on their side. And ensuring that all consumers are informed and provided with accessible routes to independent financial advice would be a defiant first step. This can help them in gaining a deeper understanding of their retirement finances and enable them to make well-informed decisions regarding their money.
“The Pension Dashboard Programme has the potential to tackle the pension engagement crisis, and the government now has three years to perfect it. In the interim, I implore ministers to place utmost importance on providing support and better access to advice for savers.”
Jonathan Hawkins, Bravura’s principal consultant and pensions expert, said: “Today’s announcement plays a critical role in tidying up the regulations and legislation around the Pension Dashboards Programme (PDP), providing a much-needed element of certainty on the approach at the same time.
“There is, of course, a worry that legislation differs in gravity from guidance, but it will ultimately be up to the industry to lead by example and the regulators to ensure appropriate carrots and sticks are in place to ensure the updated timelines are adhered to.
“Now that we have a backstop date in place (October 2026), the PDP must prioritise reinstating connections to the Central Digital Architecture (CDA), which will allow pension providers and firms to push ahead with their onboarding journeys.
“We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the PDP and our industry partners, as well as further updates on the reset expected later this year. Any further delays in connecting to the CDA will likely eat into the time pensions providers and schemes have to deliver so it is important this is back on-track sooner rather than later.”
Nigel Peaple, Director Policy & Advocacy, PLSA, said: “Today’s statement by the Minister for Pensions that the Government remains committed to the delivery of pensions dashboards and that the final staging date will go back by one year provides some helpful clarity and flexibility for the pensions industry.
“We would, however, highlight that many in the pensions industry, including the PLSA, would have preferred the new staging timeline to be set out in regulation, as was previously the case, rather than only in guidance, as is now planned. To make this new approach work, it will be necessary for the dashboards programme to work in a very open, transparent and collaborative way such that all parts of the government involved in the project, and all those involved from across the industry, can work together as one.
“The PLSA remains committed to the successful delivery of pensions dashboards in the UK. We believe they will have a transformative effect on wider pensions engagement and understanding. As we have said since the start of the programme, this is a highly complex undertaking, early delivery is less important than successful delivery.”
Sam Buckle, Executive Sponsor of Phoenix Group’s pensions dashboard project said: “We welcome the additional flexibility that today’s announcement introduces for all those supporting the introduction of the Pensions Dashboard. We believe focusing on having the majority of pensions on board is the priority, rather than the entire market. As an organisation we will continue to plan our dashboard programme in line with the guidance as soon as it is issued. This is an important initiative that will help pension savers. We are making good progress and are on track to meet our obligations.”
Robert Cochran, Senior Corporate Pension Specialist at Scottish Widows, comments: “This delay on pensions dashboards could be beneficial in the long term, as it is far more important for Government to get it right than to get it done quickly. This is absolutely critical for savers who would otherwise struggle to equip themselves for a comfortable retirement. At present, financial preparations for later life fall woefully short of many people’s expectations. More than half (57%) of those we surveyed were concerned about their finance not going far enough in retirement, while 50% did not feel they were preparing adequately.
“Done right, dashboards have huge potential to empower pension savers, but what this delay should highlight is that they aren’t the only solution in the short term. To improve engagement with pensions, the industry must go where people’s attention already is – namely, their smartphones – and make pensions apps as easily accessible as possible for the many customers whose education and engagement on retirement saving is worryingly low.”
Anthony Rafferty, CEO, Origo, said: “While the new mandatory date by which pensions providers must be connected to the pension dashboard has been moved back to 31 October 2026, it is clear that the DWP requires pension providers to remain dashboard focused, and to prepare and connect their services to the dashboard potentially well ahead of compulsion.
“The Statement from the DWP suggests it will be expecting a proportion of the industry to connect to the dashboard potentially well ahead of the cut-off point, to enable the Dashboards Available Point – the point at which dashboards will be accessible to the public – to go live earlier than the 2026 deadline.
“Guidelines for these new staging dates for connection to the central digital architecture will be agreed with the industry later in the year.
“Meanwhile, providers should be ensuring their data preparation is complete and that their dashboard connection solution is in place.
“Earlier connection will ensure not only that individual providers are ready for their expected live date but also is essential for testing of the full dashboard ecosystem.
“With the industry predicted to receive millions of requests for pensions data when dashboards are fully live, it is important providers are connected to the dashboard via a robust, comprehensive and scalable service. It must also handle all their pension dashboard processing requirements securely and compliantly and accommodate any standards revisions that come from PDP.
“What the industry needs to avoid, and the larger providers in particular, is capacity crunch in the run up to both the Dashboards Available Point and the mandatory deadline.
“The Pension Dashboard is a crucial project for individual pension savers and financial wellbeing within the UK. It is essential it is done right and will be a prize worth the wait.”
Steve Watson, Director of Policy & Research at Cushon, comments: “Another delay is hugely disappointing but it is essential the DWP gets this launch correct. The Pensions Dashboard has the potential to transform how people engage with their pensions, boosting contribution levels that will ultimately improve retirement outcomes.
“It also helps solve the small pots issue; seeing everything in one place is a driver for consolidation. Pension members want it to be easier to be able to consolidate all their pensions and, although there are other issues such as perceived complexity and jargon to tackle, the dashboard is a vital step in modernising pensions and encouraging more people to save earlier.”
Charlotte Cartwright, Partner at Eversheds Sutherland, says: “There’s been a lot of noise about what the new deadline(s) for dashboards would be / how they would be structured. It’s great to get a bit more information on this, but it is also worth thinking about a story running parallel to the dashboards deadline.
“The industry has been evolving its own forms of dashboards that savers can opt into. The idea of dashboards to increase transparency and engagement is a good one, and one which providers have been running with, helping individuals better understand their often many pension benefits. Hopefully the longer-term impact of this will be increased engagement with pension pots, long-before we get to the (hopefully!) all-singing, all-dancing mandatory pensions dashboards.”