Pensions  

Pension Wise is name given to guidance guarantee

Pension Wise is name given to guidance guarantee

The government has launched the brand for the new pensions guidance service as it gears up for the April 2015 pension freedoms, but this will cost advisers £4.2m to help fund.

Called Pension Wise, the new name and logo will be used by all those involved in providing the online, face-to-face and telephone guidance.

The Treasury announced that the guidance sessions would be approximately 45 minutes long and will be piloted from February.

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Consumers interested in using the guidance service, which will cost £35m in industry levies in 2015/16, can already register their interest to do so.

However, advisers will now have to pay 12 per cent of this cost through a levy after it was reduced by 50 per cent following discussions with the Apfa.

Financial advisers also paid £3.7m in levies to the Mas and a minimum fee of £1,000 each to the FCA in 2014/15.

Andrea Leadsom, economic secretary to the Treasury, said: “Pension Wise: Your Money, Your Choice is a distinctive brand, making it easy for consumers to know where to go for help and guidance.”

From April, more than 300,000 people a year with defined contribution pension savings will be able to access them as they wish from age 55.

The government plans to make imitating Pension Wise illegal through the Pension Schemes Bill which is currently going through parliament.

Andrew Tully, pensions technical director at MGM Advantage, said: “My biggest fear is many people won’t seek any sort of advice, either professional or through Pension Wise.

“We need a second line of defence, where people who don’t seek guidance or advice, are made fully aware of the decisions they are taking.”

Last year the government’s flagship information service, the Mas, was snubbed by the Treasury when it did not include it in the roll-out of the pension freedoms.

Instead, the government’s delivery partners are Citizens Advice (England and Wales), Citizens Advice Scotland and Northern Ireland Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux, and The Pensions Advisory Service.

Laurence Baxter, head of policy and research at the CII, said: “There is still more information we need to get on how this will work in practice.”

Adviser view

Peter Sharratt, a partner in Berkshire-based Kirk Rice, said: “I can see the idea behind it, but I am not convinced it is well thought-out, and I think the government is rushing it through.”