Pensions  

Pension Wise sees 49% rise in appointments

Pension Wise sees 49% rise in appointments

The number of savers accessing guidance from Pension Wise is rising, with a 49 per cent increase in the number of people arranging appointments face-to-face and over the phone, according to recent figures.

Run by the Money and Pensions Service, Pension Wise is a free service that helps people understand their options for their pension pot.

According to figures from Maps, published today (January 24), in 2018-19 the service provided 167,000 interactions overall. 

This included 130,000 face-to-face or telephone appointments, compared with 87,000 in 2017-18, a 49 per cent increase year on year.

Out of these individuals, 34 per cent of those who used Pension Wise were likely to then speak to a financial adviser compared to 26 per cent of non-users.

According to Maps, those who had appointments with Pension Wise said they felt more informed, were more knowledgeable and were more likely to take positive steps towards accessing their pension pots compared to those who had not received guidance from the service.

Carolyn Jones, head of pensions policy and strategy at Maps said: “For many people, their pension is one of the biggest assets they’ll ever have, and the decisions they make about accessing their savings will impact how they live the rest of their lives. 

“It is crucial people make the right decisions for their circumstances, so it’s great to see so many customers feeling empowered by our Pension Wise service. We are committed to increasing the usage of Pension Wise and continuing to improve the service for customers.” 

The data revealed in the three-month period following their interaction with Pension Wise, nine in 10 individuals (95 per cent) felt well informed of their pension options compared to 57 per cent of non-users.

Six in 10 (60 per cent) of those who had appointments were also able to calculate how much income they would need in retirement, versus 36 per cent of non-users.

Also, 95 per cent are likely to recommend the service to others or have already done so and 93 per cent were satisfied with the help they received.

Individuals who went on to access their pension savings after their experience with Pension Wise are also more likely to take steps to inform themselves prior to making arrangements.

For example, 86 per cent checked how much tax they would pay based on their chosen options (versus 73 per cent of non-users) and 70 per cent looked into any charges they might incur based on their chosen options (compared with 46 per cent of non-users).

Earlier this week (January 21), Maps launched its UK strategy for financial wellbeing, which set out goals to be achieved by 2030 across five areas including financial education, saving, credit, debt advice and retirement.

To encourage more people to save in the long-term Maps has proposed introducing guidance packages which would work alongside the proposed pensions dashboards to help people take action when needed.

These packages would be focused on specific life events such as parental leave and divorce.

amy.austin@ft.com