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AKG Update Issue 29
7 December 2016
Pensions Dashboard prototype to be ready by Spring 2017

As we start to look ahead to key market development items for 2017 there has been an interesting step forward in relation to the proposed Pensions Dashboard initiative.

What has happened?

On 12 September 2016 the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Kirby, announced that a prototype of the Pensions Dashboard will be ready by March 2017.

What is the Pensions Dashboard?

The Pensions Dashboard is a platform that will enable customers to see all of their pension pots in one place and thus will help customers to plan for their retirement more effectively. Click here to see the full story.

Who is involved in the prototype development?

At the date of the initial announcement by Simon Kirby, 11 leading pension providers - Aviva, Aon, HSBC, LV=, NEST, Now:Pensions, The People’s Pension, Royal London, Standard Life, Zurich and Willis Towers Watson - were said to be committed to building the Pensions Dashboard. On 5 November the ABI announced that six more companies – Abbey Life, Fidelity International, Legal & General, Lloyds Banking Group (Scottish Widows), Phoenix and Prudential - were signed up in support of the project.

Who is managing the project?

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has agreed to manage the day-to-day running of the pilot project.

When will the Pensions Dashboard be formally launched?

The intention is for the Pensions Dashboard to be launched in 2019.

Who will be impacted?

Customers – The aspiration here is that customers will be better informed on their pension holdings and have a greater understanding of their total ‘pension wealth’, including state pension details. This will be a positive step forward and when combined with other initiatives will support awareness of and engagement with pensions.

Financial advisers – Better informed customers and better access to a wider range of online pension details and valuations can surely only be a positive for financial advisers.

Product providers - The full list of 17 companies includes new companies set up in response to auto-enrolment, existing pension providers, large Master Trusts, pension administrators managing DB and DC pension schemes and providers closed to new business. Many of these companies are assessed and rated by AKG within our sector for Life Companies, Friendly Societies & Similar Providers. We will monitor the prototype development, and the role played by these supporters, closely and we will be interested to see how other pension provider respond moving forward. Companies across the sector need to continue to create cost efficiencies and better employ digital solutions. It is quite possible that the introduction of the Pensions Dashboard will be a form of catalyst for pension consolidation and so companies will also be considering associated business retention strategies.

Guy Vanner

AKG's Managing Director
DISCUS 'Coffee Talks': Video on adviser due diligence

Since the launch of our new assessment sector for DFMs we have been out and about discussing the broader theme of DFM due diligence for advisers. The focus has been on encouraging advisers to carry out a comprehensive, robust, recordable and repeatable process.

AKG’s suggested approach is a due diligence process based on the following four core areas of assessment including a requirement to learn more about the DFM entity itself, this being the area which can be supported with AKG’s DFM Profile & Financial Strength Reports:

  1. Proposition research and analysis
  2. Investment performance analysis
  3. Operational capability and service delivery appraisal
  4. Provider assessment.

I covered this theme in a recent video interview with DISCUS (Discretionary Investment Services Coming Under Scrutiny) as part of their Coffee Talks series. Please click here if you would like to watch the video and read the supporting notes.

We are sure that this will be a consistent theme through 2017 as well and we would welcome any thoughts that you may have on DFM due diligence and your requirements from provider assessments in this area.

Matt Ward

AKG's Communications Director
Rating Activity

Life Companies, Friendly Societies & Similar Providers

Family Assurance Friendly Society Ltd
Overall Financial Strength
B- [Confirmed] Issued 7 Dec 2016

IntegraLife UK Ltd
Overall Financial Strength
B [Confirmed] Issued 16 Nov 2016

Integrated Financial Arrangements Ltd
Overall Financial Strength
B [Confirmed] Issued 29 Nov 2016

Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Ltd
Overall Financial Strength
B- [Confirmed] Issued 21 Nov 2016

Talbot and Muir SIPP LLP
Overall Financial Strength
B- [Previously C] Issued 1 Dec 2016

Offshore Life Companies

Integralife International Ltd
Overall Financial Strength
B- [Confirmed] Issued 16 Nov 2016

Platform Operators

AJ Bell Holdings Limited
Platform Financial Strength
B [New rating] Issued 2 Dec 2016

AJ Bell Management Ltd
Platform Financial Strength
Rating withdrawn 2 Dec 2016 [Previously B]

Integrated Financial Arrangements Ltd
Platform Financial Strength
B [Confirmed] Issued 16 Nov 2016

Platform One Limited
Platform Financial Strength
D [Confirmed] Issued 21 Nov 2016

SEI Investments (Europe) Ltd
Platform Financial Strength
B+ [Confirmed] Issued 21 Nov 2016

Note: This section refers solely to our Overall Financial Strength Ratings/Platform Financial Strength Ratings/DFM Financial Strength Ratings.
Report Releases

Company Profile & Financial Strength Reports

Short Report – Issued 7 Dec 2016

Scottish Friendly
Short Report – Issued 21 Nov 2016

Talbot and Muir
Full Report – Issued 1 Dec 2016

Short Report – Issued 16 Nov 2016

Offshore Profile & Financial Strength Reports

Short Report – Issued 16 Nov 2016

Platform Profile & Financial Strength Reports

AJ Bell Investcentre
Short Report – Issued 2 Dec 2016

Full Report – Issued 21 Nov 2016

Short Report – Issued 16 Nov 2016
Report Withdrawals
No reports have been withdrawn since our last Update.
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