Mas toasts success of annuities comparison table

Mas toasts success of annuities comparison table

The Money Advice Service is gearing up for the new pensions freedoms and has worked with a range of organisations, to create services to complement and support the new ‘guidance guarantee’ service.

In an update published today (2 February), Mas said it has devoted “significant effort” during the last three months of last year to develop aids to help people going through retirement.

During the quarter, there was a particular focus on building links with financial services firms, Mas said.

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RBS incorporated the service’s advice on interest rates into its website and Virgin Money developed a Money Advice Service hub on their site.

Mas also worked with MSN to provide a wide range of personal finance articles for their money portal.

In November, Mas launched an annuities comparison table, that has been “extremely well received”, with 86 per cent of people who start using it following it through to completion.

The service takes people through a simple six step journey using videos, FAQs and tables, aiming to clarify the variety of annuity products available.

Mas also stated it has made “considerable progress” on its retirement adviser directory during the fourth quarter last year. Last week it published a call for advisers to register to feature in its adviser list, which will be the primary referral point for guidance providers when handing customers off for more formal advice.

Ahead of the latest published performance figures for the government quango, its chief executive told FTAdviser sister paper Financial Adviser that while there have been failings in explaining services to the adviser community, it had shown tangible results.

The numbers of people seeking advice from Mas in the last three months of 2014 remained constant quarter on quarter, in spite of the pressures to spend before Christmas.

In the period October to December, the service received over 4.5m contacts from customers through its online, phone, and face-to-face services. Satisfaction levels remained high with 90 per cent of customers stating they would re-visit the service and 87 per cent suggesting they would recommend it to friends and family.

Caroline Rookes, chief executive of the Money Advice Service, said: “I am really pleased to see our partnerships with financial services organisations - banks, building societies, insurance firms and regulated advisers, coming to fruition.

“If we are going to improve the financial capability of the UK, it is vital to have those partners on board.”