Scottish Widows is “well on its way” to recruiting an extra 400 staff to help its cope with the expected increase in demand for pensions requests as the flexibilities go live in April.
A spokesman for the firm confirmed the extra staff will deal with enquiries from customers, talking them through their options, including the tax implications of withdrawing cash.
The employment drive is part of a wider push to be prepared for the reforms, which also includes a new website and online tools to give customers the resources they need.
“It’s more about education than guidance, giving people an explanation of different options before passing them on to the government service,” stated the company representative.
Robert Cochran, pensions development manager at Scottish Widows, told FTAdviser that the firm is gearing up for a big spike in enquiries, particularly from the backlog of people who have deferred decisions since the Budget announcement last March.
“We predict there is likely to be up to a year’s worth within those two months after 6 April, although this will begin to plateau as the year goes on.”
Mr Cochran added that from Scottish Widows’ own research, most people actually change their mind once they learn about the full range of options, so he doubted whether as many people as expected would take their money and run.