Pensions  

Guidance body to offer personalised service

Guidance body to offer personalised service

The Money and Pensions Service (Maps) is looking to replace its legacy websites with a new platform which will allow it to engage with consumers in a more personalised way.

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

This week Maps launched a request for suppliers to develop and maintain a new “communication platform” so the guidance body can replace the technology behind its three legacy websites.

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The body stated: “[The goal is] to replace the existing digital technologies serving our legacy websites with a new digital experience platform, which enables us to engage with consumers in a personalised manner across multiple channels.”

It is currently unknown whether this will result in guidance personalised to each individual as Maps officials said due to the ongoing procurement process, the guidance body is unable to release any further information.

Work on this project is expected to start no later than November 7, 2019, with the contract set for two years, although it can be extended if needed.

The guidance body has budgeted £750,000 for the first year of development which will cover software licensing and support costs.

The budget for the second year is £300,000 and there is also an additional £300,000 available per year to cover support costs due to increased traffic to the new platform.

From 2017/18 to 2018/19 the Money Advice Service had 4.9m average monthly page views, this compared with 655,609 page views at Pensionwise and 511,528 at the Pensions Advisory Service before the merger.

The industry has previously called for Maps to be given permission to offer advice with the industry calling for the body to set up a separate advice service.

A move to a service that gives personalised recommendations could come dangerously close to giving advice.

The Low Incomes Tax Reform Group, an initiative from the Chartered Institute of Taxation, argued that the existing guidance model offered through Pension Wise was inadequate.

The industry body proposed the guidance service should launch a pension freedoms advice platform, which could be delivered either by upgrading Pension Wise to provide such advice, fully funded by Maps, or by subsidising the creation of a charitable body to which financial advisers might give some time for free.

But others have said that Maps should not provide advice although its guidance could be stronger.

The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) called on the government to give Maps greater scope to provide stronger financial guidance without it being considered financial advice.

The PLSA also supports measures to make it easier for guidance to be provided through employers and pension schemes.

amy.austin@ft.com

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