Small pots and digital passportsRSS icon

Written by Ben Cocks on Tuesday 7 July 2015

Here are two industry initiatives that at first glance seem unrelated.

The first is TISA’s project to create an industry wide financial services digital passport based on the good work from OIX and UK.GOV Verify. This will allow consumers to use one copy of their personal details held with a chosen Identity Provider to sign up for many financial services providers without going through all the current KYC and AML shenanigans. This is a great idea and Altus are working at the heart of it.

The second is the DWP’s small pots or ‘pot-follows-member’ policy whereby an employee’s pension will automatically be moved to their new scheme when they change jobs (subject to certain conditions). To implement this the DWP has proposed a federated model of multiple pension registers each holding the details of thousands of pension policies for the administrators who have chosen to use that register. Those administrators can then ask their register provider to search all the other registers for pension policies belonging to new employees and then automatically transfer those to the new scheme. This is a great idea and Altus are working at the heart of it. 

But if we combine these two initiatives we could create a service where a customer signing up with a new platform could ask the platform to find all their pension policies. The platform could sign up with one of the pension registers (whose remit would have to be increased from small pots to all pots!) who could trawl all the other registers for matches in the safe knowledge that the personal details used had been verified by a nationally agreed approach. The list of pensions could then be presented to the customer who could pick which ones to transfer at the click of a button. The Pensions Dashboard which seemed so ethereal is suddenly within our grasp. This is a great idea (even though I say so myself) and Altus will be working at the heart of it.

That would have been a good sentence to end on but I feel compelled to add that all the initiatives above are based on open standards and multiple, competitive, interoperable technology suppliers. The famously uncompetitive financial services industry needs to wake up to this approach and quit the centralised monopolistic technology infrastructure that is crippling the industry’s attempts to modernise. But I’ll leave that for my next blog posting.

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