Your IndustryDec 14 2015

Adviser training body wants Pension Wise to expand

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Adviser training body wants Pension Wise to expand

The Later Life Academy has called for the expansion of Pension Wise’s remit beyond just at-retirement guidance to become the “go-to point for all pension issues that arise throughout an individual’s life”.

In its official response to HM Treasury’s public financial guidance consultation, as well as the Financial Advice Market Review, the commercial and training organisation for later life advisers argued the guidance service should have a much wider brief and remit.

“The academy believes Pension Wise should be the help and support brand of The Pension Advisory Service,” read a statement, adding that operator Tpas would drive all initiatives, but would also be empowered to utilise other agencies in order to ensure successful delivery.

“If individuals are able to access this service, not just at retirement, but throughout their lives then the academy believes they should become much more comfortable with the choices they have, the guidance they are being given, and are much more likely to make them engaged with fuller financial advice options.”

The Later Life Academy’s comments come after former pensions ministwe Steve Webb told FTAdviser the money devoted to Pension Wise could have been better spent on an adviser voucher system.

Alongside expanding Pension Wise, the academy also backed work towards a ‘digital personal financial hub’ for every individual, which would aid their engagement with financial institutions and increase financial competency.

Bob Champion, chairman of the Later Life Academy, said that by solving the problems put forward in both consultations, people will be able to recognise the value of both guidance and advice far earlier in their lives.

“We also believe that action is required around capacity in the marketplace – at present advice is undoubtedly restricted in a number of ways, either via cost, understanding, limited savings, the list goes on.

“We believe a new advice model is required which ties in the government-run initiatives like Pension Wise, broadens their scope of offering and at the same time sign-posts the private sector advice offering.”

He argued that this is a “pivotal moment” for the delivery of financial advice.

Mr Champion said: “We need to offer a solution which engages far more people than currently access professional advice and by developing and broadening the range of guidance provided, coupled with the services that will soon be available through the academy itself and our members, we should be able to signpost a much smoother path through this process.”

It was back in October that the Financial Conduct Authority and HM Treasury launched an input paper giving advisers until 22 December to explain what puts them off offering advice.