Personal Pension  

More than 925,000 have used Pension Wise to date

More than 925,000 have used Pension Wise to date

More than 925,000 people have used the Pension Wise website and, since launch, Pension Wise has facilitated nearly 18,000 free guidance appointments over the phone and face-to-face, according to HM Treasury.

Pension Wise launched on 6 April as the government’s free guidance service.

The Treasury also said the feedback from the first guidance appointments has been positive.

Over 90 per cent of people who took part in the exit polls said they are satisfied or very satisfied with the service they received.

In the Budget 2015, it was announced that there would be a significant expansion of the government’s guidance service, Pension Wise.

A further 1.5m people aged from 50 to 55 will gain access to the service following the new expansion.

The government also announced a new nationwide advertising campaign.

It added that it has urged people to take their time when making a decision about their retirement and think ahead.

Adrian Walker, Old Mutual Wealth’s retirement planning manager, said that the numbers from the Treasury on uptake seem to echo the firm’s research which suggests that just 1 per cent of those aware of the reforms have currently taken up the option to speak to Pension Wise.

Mr Walker said: “Restricting eligibility to those above age 55 and looking to access their pension savings would have severely limited the numbers who were going to initially utilise the service, as would the ban on promoting the service during the purdah period ahead of the election in May.

“Our research also showed that customers have been more likely to seek information from their provider first – making the provider ‘second line of defence’ put in place by the FCA more like the first line.

“The announcement in the summer Budget to lower the eligible age to 50 will have some effect on visitor levels, but I still think awareness is low and the more that is done to highlight the value of guidance, and full advice, the more people will look in the right places for help.

“What I think we really need to see from the Government is more detail on the benefits that those 18,000 people feel they have received from the service.”

Earlier this month, the Financial Conduct Authority found broad industry support for its plans to keep an eye on the Pension Wise guidance providers - despite the plans coming with a £950,000 price tag.

In a policy statement published at that time, the regulator stated that its consultation found the need for no major changes on the policy, other than requests for clarification of a few issues.

ruth.gillbe@ft.com