Pensions 

What industry wants from the new guidance body

What industry wants from the new guidance body

The Money and Pensions Service (Maps) needs to be hands-on and must educate individuals on their pensions at key stages in their life, industry representatives have said.

Maps, which was made up of the merger of Pension Wise, the Money Advice Service and The Pension Advisory Service, officially launched in April 2019 and is a joined-up service for everything guidance, from debt help to money and pensions guidance. 

At a listening event in London yesterday (June 20), Maps asked various stakeholders across the industry for their opinions on how the service can improve the guidance it gives to individuals and how it can encourage people to engage with their savings.

It also asked what it should spend its £190m budget on and how to best distribute its resources.

A common theme across the room was that the body needed to communicate with individuals about their pension savings across key stages of their life, for example, when entering work for the first time or reaching retirement age.

People from companies such as XPS Pensions, Legal & General and Just Group, as well as the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, were in favour of Maps pushing employers and pension providers to offer mid-life MOTs. 

A mid-life MOT would be aimed at individuals approaching the age of 45 and would provide them with guidance on what they should be doing to improve their pension pot for retirement.

In February, the Department for Work and Pensions launched a portal promoting mid-life MOTs to businesses.

The website includes guidance for people who want a financial and physical stock-take at a crucial point in their careers, the DWP stated.

Another suggestion was for Maps to provide targeted pensions guidance for people aged 50, although some thought a better suited age for this would be 55.

Tailored guidance for people in this age bracket could help people focus on how to manage their pension pots in the best way, some respondents stated.

Others believed that rather than targeting those approaching retirement, Maps should focus its resources on educating the younger generation to get them engaged with their pension from an early age.

They also wanted tailored communications for various age groups. For example using podcasts and technology to appeal to younger savers.

Another suggestion was for Maps to use auto-enrolment to engage people. 

It was suggested that the guidance service could approach people in auto-enrolment every three years to provide them with a mini review of how their pension was performing and remind them of what they should be doing to ensure a comfortable retirement.

However, some warned if people were made aware that they were auto-enrolled in a pension they may choose to opt out. 

Another issue with this proposal was that it would not capture the self-employed.

Maps asked the respondents how it could balance resources between preventative work (for example pensions guidance, financial education) and crisis support (such as debt advice) and whether one should be prioritised over the over.