Pension Wise hits back at Zurich take-up claim

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Pension Wise hits back at Zurich take-up claim

Only 4 per cent of those aged 55 plus in defined contribution pension schemes have spoken to Pension Wise, research from provider Zurich revealed.

YouGov polled 1019 adults aged over the new 55 age at which people can take advantage of the pension freedoms with their defined contribution pot, finding found that only 8 per cent of savers who have done so since April sought support from the free guidance service.

The findings also suggested that most consumers described their experience favourably, with a quarter saying it was “very useful” in helping them to understand their options, while a third said it was “somewhat useful”.

However, 13 per cent of those surveyed said it was “not very useful” and one in four said the service was “not at all useful”.

Rod McKie, Zurich’s head of retirement propositions, said that the findings also echo those of the recent Work and Pensions Committee, which indicated more could be done to raise awareness of the service.

“With only 4 per cent of over 55s using Pension Wise so far, there is a clear need for the government and providers to continue to work together to better understand the apparent reluctance of customers to engage with the service and then encourage more people to use it.”

A HM Treasury spokesperson responded that with more than 20,000 Pension Wise appointments and 1.5m website visits having taken place since the launch of the service earlier this year, it is clear that people are using the service and numbers are expected to grow in the short to medium term, as awareness increases.

“Whilst it is not compulsory to seek guidance through Pension Wise, it is important that working people approaching retirement know that the service is there to support them if they wish to use it,” read the statement.

“That is why the government has already set out an expansion of Pension Wise, which will see an extra 1.5m people aged between 50 and 55 gain access to the guidance on offer.”