HM Treasury plans ‘more personal’ Pension Wise

HM Treasury plans ‘more personal’ Pension Wise

Pension Wise will be transferred from HM Treasury to the department for work and pensions, as part of a “new phase” for the service.

Harriett Baldwin, the economic secretary to the Treasury, told the work and pensions select committee that the transfer would take place by the end of the financial year.

She said: “The launch of the service has been a success, with more than 90 per cent of customers who completed the exit survey reporting that they are satisfied or very satisfied following an appointment.

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“Pension Wise has a strong strategic fit with DWP and the current aim is for this transfer to be completed by 31 March 2016.”

Gwyneth Nurse, director for financial services at HM Treasury, told the committee the Pension Wise service would also be developed.

She said: “We are looking to develop Pension Wise. We have got it up and running quickly and effectively and now we are looking to improve it.

“To the extent that we can without pressuring the advice boundary, we want to do what we can to make it more personal to each individual.”

Since the service was launched in April, there have been 20,000 Pension Wise appointments and 1.5m unique users have visited its website.

According to the FCA, more than 200,000 were accessed in the three months following 6 April and more than 80 per cent of people were able to access their pension through drawdown or UFPLS without needing to transfer providers.

Ms Baldwin told the committee satisfaction levels for those who used Pension Wise were above 90 per cent.

In the Summer Budget, access to Pension Wise was extended to those who are 50 or over.

Adrian Walker, retirement planning manager at Old Mutual Wealth, said: “Success in these matters should not be measured, or celebrated, on the numbers alone.

“The real measure of the success of the Pension Wise service, and the whole reform of the pension landscape, will be when anyone who needs help with understanding their retirement options gets that help and secures the retirement they have worked, saved and planned for.”

Adviser view

Justin King, a chartered financial planner with Dorset-based MFP Wealth Management, said: “If it will make Pension Wise more bespoke and more helpful, then that’s got to be a good thing.”