PRESS RELEASE: ITM questions Pension Schemes’ lack of independent assessment on GDPR

Feb 1, 2019
  • 75% of Pension Schemes say GDPR preparation is well underway
  • However almost half have no idea what implementing these rules will cost their Scheme
  • And 80% not planning to undertake independent assessment of their GDPR measures

Three quarters of Pension Schemes are confident they will be ready for the tighter rules set to come into effect under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on 25 May 2018, according to exclusive research by financial data specialist ITM.

The GDPR is a major overhaul of how all businesses, regardless of sectors or size, process and handle data. Crucially, sanctions for breaching GDPR will be much heavier than under the previous Data Protection Act. Although technically an EU-led regulation, GDPR will still be implemented here in the UK.

The same number (75%) of Pension Schemes also said planning and preparations for GDPR is well underway, in a further reassurance of their ability to meet the deadline. Meanwhile, eight out of ten Pension Schemes are either unsure or not planning to take any action at all to organise independent assessment to gauge the adequacy of their GDPR measures.

However, despite these clear signs of readiness amongst many Pension Schemes, just under a quarter (24%) believe they either won’t meet the deadline or remain unsure of whether this would be possible. The cost of GDPR was also highlighted as an area of uncertainty for just under half (48%) of respondents, who revealed that they had no idea what implementing the new rules would ultimately cost their Scheme. Meanwhile, 42% said they expected it to cost up to £25,000.

Commenting on the results of the survey, ITM Executive Chairman, Duncan Howorth said: “We had previously been concerned about a general lack of readiness for GDPR amongst Pension Schemes, which is understandable given the near constant state of change that Pension Schemes are faced with in the world of pensions. So, on the one hand, it’s really positive to see that confidence is high about the ability to meet the May 2018 deadline. But the level of certainty around both cost and a lack of independent assessment still have the potential to raise issues further down the line.

“Both the implementation and maintenance of many GDPR processes will be complex and therefore demanding on time, which in itself makes it crucial for Pension Schemes to get a much clearer idea of the cost impact. And perhaps even more importantly, these demands highlight the need for independent assessment of GDPR processes, to ensure that valuable time is not being spent incorrectly and that unnecessary costs – and even significant penalties – are avoided further down the line.”

It appears that the burden of GDPR processes is being taken on by Pension Scheme administrators, with 71% of respondents using their administrator to maintain a ‘record of Processing Activities’ and 67% to help update procedures in accordance with GDPR, such as subject access requests. Implementing data breach response plans (62%) and updating member communications (57%) were also typically cited as areas where administrators are stepping in to help with GDPR.

ITM has been working to help Pension Schemes get up to speed with GDPR by hosting a series of events on the subject across the UK in conjunction with Eversheds Sutherland, which were described by one delegate as providing a ‘comprehensive insight into the practical issues when dealing with GDPR in a pensions context’ while another reflected that it helped act as ‘a reminder that I have lots to do before May 2018’.

One Pension Scheme trustee who attended the ITM/Eversheds Sutherland event in Leeds also said the information on GDPR had been ‘very thought provoking and useful in persuading other trustees to take action’.

Further information / media contacts:

Duncan Howorth, Executive Chairman, ITM

t/ 07920 294 664

Notes for editors:

*Survey based on responses from 21 Pension Schemes, both from the public and private sectors.

ITM is a leading provider of specialist data management, systems and administrator support services within UK financial services.

ITM consultants are all experienced pension administration system and data specialists, able to provide advice and guidance to sponsoring employers, trustees and scheme managers on how to identify, manage and correct all system, process and benefit data issues. ITM consultants have extensive knowledge of:

  • All leading pension and financial services administration software packages.
  • Bespoke pension administration systems build and implementation management.
  • Pension administration operational processes.
  • Data risk auditing, cleansing and data migration.
  • Large scale legacy data and benefit calculation projects.
  • Strategic pension administration operational review and outsourcing advice.

ITM provides these services to a range of clients that include:

  • Third party and in house administrators.
  • Trustees and independent trustees of occupational pension plans.
  • Benefit consultants and actuaries.
  • HR, payroll and flexible benefit providers.
  • Insurance companies.
  • Financial advisers and wealth managers.

ITM provides a range of system solutions that enable administration to be undertaken efficiently and accurately:

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Pensions administration solution.

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Web based data analysis and reporting solution.

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Auto enrolment solution.

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Web based member and client access solution.


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