CompaniesNov 20 2015

Mas passes 37,000 people on to Retirement Adviser Directory

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Mas passes 37,000 people on to Retirement Adviser Directory

The Money Advice Service has passed 37,000 individuals onto the financial adviser retirement directory since the pensions freedoms came into effect.

Caroline Rookes, chief executive of Mas, said there had been 37,000 unique users of the retirement directory from April to September – the first six months since Pensions Freedoms came into effect.

Ms Rookes said this, together with high numbers of individuals seeking information on retirement income, annuity comparisons and the pensions calculator, meant that, “in terms of helping people around their pension choices, we are doing well”.

According to Ms Rookes, Mas was keen to be working with advisers and, although the service is still forming its plans for key partnerships over 2016, this was one of the areas that Mas was interested in working with.

She said: “We are keen that people do seek financial advice when it is the right thing to do, and if Mas can facilitate that, then we will.”

Earlier this year, Mas was criticised in the Farnish Review for being reactive and not being seen to be value for money. Ms Rookes said that Mas would be “building on the Farnish Review” and the industry would see that it has been working hard in response to this to reach more people.

In 2016, such work might even see Mas working with supermarkets to help people spend more wisely as part of a wider campaign.

“Lidl has a similar message to us – they want people to spend less. In their case, it is getting people to buy the supermarket’s own products, but if there is scope for a national money management programme – working with supermarkets or online companies, or organisations where we share a common aim of getting people to spend and save – then we would like to do this in 2016.

“If we went ahead with this, Mas could even be invisible – just one of several players in a wider education campaign.”

Key figures

From April – September 2015

37,000 individuals passed to the Financial Adviser Retirement Directory

33,000 unique users of the retirement income options tool

84,000 users of annuity comparison tables

Nearly 250,000 people using the pension calculator.

Source: MAS

In September, a debt funding programme was opened across all 11 council areas in Northern Ireland and in August, the Big Lottery Fund in Wales joined forces with Mas to create a pilot programme called Talk, Learn, Do, which aims to improve parents’ confidence in teaching money management skill to their children.

Adviser view

Robert Reid, chartered financial planner for London-based Syndaxi, said: “There is a huge swathe of people who won’t pay for advice and I don’t know how you overcome that. It is great Mas is engaging better with IFAs, and people are engaging more with Mas and getting practical help, but you must be upfront about the minimum costs when people go through Mas to get regulated advice.”