We ought to be excited about Pension Wise

Chris Robinson

In response to Kevin O’Donnell’s column on Pension Wise (FA, 22 January), the chancellor promised face-to-face advice for all pensioners. Instead what we have is a fig leaf to cover for that great soundbite.

From what I have read, there are still many individuals going into retirement with nothing but the state pension, or that plus very low occupational or personal pension benefits. I have seen the average pension pot size quoted as something around £25k. The problem for poor people is they do not have any money - and, for them, the Citizens Advice Bureaux would be a great starting point.

If Pension Wise encourages the small proportion of the 20,000 or so people retiring each month who actually have sufficient pension funds to seek proper ‘advice’ on their options then it would be better than nothing.

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My own view is that the industry’s excitement about Pension Wise is justified because if just one or all of the 20,000 want to take advantage of the new options, we will need to plan for it, with illustrations, calculations, payment processes and so on.

Of course, the actual number of people retiring with enough money in their pension pot who would want to use this service would be a lot less than 20,000 a month. I would be interested to get some hard numbers if anyone has done the research.

Chris Robinson


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