Trials to increase the number of people taking guidance from Pension Wise before accessing their pension savings are underway.
As first reported in July the Money and Pensions Service is working with several pension companies to understand how savers can be encouraged to seek guidance.
On Friday (October 25) Maps confirmed that it is carrying out its trials with clients of Aviva, Hargreaves Lansdown and Legal and & General Investment Management to ensure a broad spread of individuals.
The research, conducted by Maps’ behavioural insight team, is testing two approaches to direct savers towards Pension Wise when they first access their pension savings or call to discuss their options.
The first is for the provider to book a Pension Wise appointment for the client, and the other sees the client being transferred to Maps to make an appointment.
The research will cover 4,300 conversations and will test the effectiveness of these approaches against the existing signposting to Pension Wise, according to Maps.
The outcome of the trials will help shape future policy to achieve a greater uptake of guidance services at the point people apply to access or transfer their pension savings.
Lindsey Rix, managing director of savings and retirement at Aviva, said it was becoming increasingly important for the industry to do more to help people engage with their pension savings.
Ms Rix said: “There is more to be done to steer consumers who don’t take advice away from bad decisions.
"We want to work with the government and regulators to make sure this is possible within a properly regulated framework. We believe Pension Wise can also play an important role in helping customers with their retirement plans. We’re therefore delighted to be part of this important trial.”
She added: “Everything we can do to boost customers’ confidence and awareness of the retirement choices and options available to them is a positive move.”
Nathan Long, senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Half of all retirement decisions still involve people cashing out of their pension entirely. Shifting this rather worrying trend relies on boosting the number of people getting access to quality help and guidance.
“This trial will help inform how the industry can play a more important role in raising the number of people using Pension Wise and crucially shed light on when people are most likely to be predisposed to getting help.”
The number of Pension Wise appointments has almost trebled since the service launched in 2015/16, rising from 61,000 in 2015/16, to 167,000 in 2018/19.
There were 105,000 Pension Wise appointments during the first 6 months of 2019/20.
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