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Pensions data could become “another legacy issue”

Data sent on behalf of employers to pension providers have a 50 percent error rate and must be sent back for correction, according to pensionsync.


Research from the data integration platform represented contributions to more than 10,000 employer pension schemes.


The company said such high error rates suggest the need for greater attention to be paid to data accuracy by pension administrators or employers themselves.


This research was revealed as part of an industry roundtable, hosted by pensionsync, CIPP and Reward Strategy, at the House of Lords on September 12.


The roundtable was attended by a range of pensions and payroll experts including individuals from Aviva, NEST Pensions, SMART Pensions, The People’s Pensions and Qtac.


Responding to these findings Ros Altmann, chair of pensionsync and former minister of state for pensions, said: “We need to discuss the issues around data before it becomes another legacy issue we need to deal with. We want savers to trust pensions.”


Neil Esslemont, head of industry liaison, at The Pensions Regulator, added: “This is a wide-ranging subject from a regulatory perspective. Our top priority, at the moment, is to have data improvement plans to check on legacy data and how it is being corrected.”


As part of the research, pensionsync described how regulations in place only check employers are paying into a scheme - not the accuracy of information.


Will Lovegrove, chief executive of pensionsync, said: “It is vital for the pensions regulator and government to ensure data in new auto-enrolment pensions are regularly and comprehensively checked for accuracy.”


The auto-enrolment declaration of compliance does not require confirmation that the

pension contributions and employee pension records have been robustly verified as accurate.


Comments from the table, regarding this, said that a sensible start to solving this issue would be for all pension providers to capture salary data to ensure the right contributions are being paid.


Payroll consultant Kate UpCraft added the need to have “one common standard of operation” in regards to data, rather than “several commercial standards”.


She added: “Historic data may be a problem now, but it’s going to become even more of a bigger problem going forward.”


Altmann concluded the discussion by saying “there aren’t any silver bullets” on how to solve the current issues around data accuracy, but the industry experts would meet again to begin a problem solving process on the topic.


Pensions Awareness Day is September 15, to get involved see here.

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