Interactive pensions dashboards needed to boost pension engagement

Jan 19th '22

New research by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has found that pensions dashboards, which will show savers all their pension pots in one place, present a once in a generation opportunity to help people engage with their pension. But the ABI is recommending that the forthcoming legislation and regulatory regime should allow dashboards to be interactive to meet younger age groups’ digital demands. Current proposals will only allow users to see their pension pots in one place, effectively a read-only service. Users will not be able to take any further action such as modelling changing their pension contribution and estimating the impact this will have on their retirement income.


The user research was conducted by Britain Thinks and showed how pensions dashboards will work. It is the biggest quantitative survey conducted on pensions dashboards in the UK. The research found:


  • Over 60% of people said that dashboards will help them better understand their pension.
  • 2 in 3 working aged adults* are likely to use them.
  • 7 in 10 working people would like dashboards to be interactive.


For some people, finding and viewing their pensions is enough of a draw to use dashboards, but others expected the service to go further. This was especially true of younger people who are more likely than those of retirement age to want to take further action. This includes using modelling tools to see what happens if they adjust how much they contribute to their pension.


The Government and regulators are expected to consult on pensions dashboards regulations in the coming weeks. The ABI recommends that legislation should be future proof and enable providers to make dashboards interactive. A one-size-fits-all solution will not work – a range of innovative features is needed to support different user needs. This should include functions that show users how changing their contribution and retirement age can impact their retirement income. Other features could include signposting to pension advice and guidance and integrating pensions data with other supporting services. This would encourage and empower savers to manage their pension savings.


Yvonne Braun, Director of Long-Term Savings at the Association of British Insurers, said: “Our new research is clear: pensions dashboards will be very popular.  But most people want to be able to actively engage with their pensions on dashboards, rather than use a read-only, static website.


“To ensure dashboards can truly empower people to engage with their pension savings, they must offer interactive features. Dashboard providers have to be able to innovate to meet the needs of younger age groups, and the legislation and the regulatory regime must allow for this.”


Rachel Rowlinson, Research Director at Britain Thinks, said: “Across our research on consumer financial behaviours we find there is high demand for easy-to-use digital tools that help demystify products. This research has evidenced that pensions dashboards offer a real solution to significant issues consumers face in accessing, understanding and managing their pensions – which means there is a genuine appetite for use. The key challenge moving forwards will be to ensure that consumers are not only logging in as a one-off to look, but also being nudged to build habits around engaging with their pensions more consistently, and taking active steps to plan and manage their financial futures.”


Providers are expected to make data available to dashboards from 2023.


Consumers’ comments; pensions dashboards welcome as a useful way to keep track of pensions


“I have different pots but I’m not sure how to access them. The idea of having something interactive where I can just click and see what’s in there sounds fantastic.” (Female, 40 – 49)


“To be honest, I have been avoiding looking into all this stuff because pensions are so complicated. This would encourage me to think about what I have access to and what I can do.” (Male, 50 – 59)


“Seems really good, useful to see everything in one place as when you have pensions in different places it can be hard to keep track. This would make calculations much easier.”  Female (35-64)


The confusion about pensions and how dashboards will help 


  • 7 in 10 consumers feel that pensions can be overly complex and complicated – and would not feel confident explaining them.
  • 54% of working age adults find it challenging to find their pensions information.
  • 63% of working age adults agree it would be helpful to have all their pensions in one place.
  • Over 60% of people said that dashboards will help them better understand their pensions.
  • Nearly 60% see themselves using dashboards to manage their pension.
  • 62% of working aged people would use pensions dashboards for retirement planning.


Working aged people want a variety of interactive features** 


  • 7 in 10 would find it useful to show how changing their contribution and retirement age can impact their retirement income.
  • Nearly 70% (67.5%) of people would find it useful to move money from other accounts within the dashboard.
  • 65% would find it useful to move money between or combine their pension pots within dashboards.
  • 63% of working age adults agree that the exporting feature offered by pensions dashboards would be useful to them.


**Respondents were allowed to choose more than one option.


Dashboards are seen as the solution to understanding, accessing, and engaging with their pension by working age people with some prompted to take further action. 


  • 40% would want to find out more about pensions after using the pensions dashboards.
  • 32% would want some more personalised guidance on their own pension(s) after using the pensions dashboards
  • 25% would want to contact their pension provider(s) after using the pensions dashboards.


*Working age are adults 18 – 64-year-old.


Research Methodology 

The research was conducted by Britain Thinks. The purpose of the research was to develop a fuller understanding of customer expectations for and needs from the pensions dashboards service. The research included:


  • 15 x 60-minute depth interviews with a broad demographic spread to inform stimulus design. The sessions were designed to map user needs; evaluate the concept of pensions dashboards; expectation of pension dashboard supporting tools and features; understand the wider context for participants.
  • A bespoke online survey with a sample of 4,000 respondents, nationally representative of the UK. Three dashboard ‘routes’ were shown to different groups of consumers quantitatively across three stages of the journey (sign-up, interface and next steps). The total sample answered some contextual questions on pensions, then were split into four groups of 1,000 respondents (all nationally representative) and shown one of the three routes. The final group of 1,000 acted as the control group, seeing no visual stimulus and only a written description of the concept of the dashboard.


Source: ABI