Maps pulls drawdown calculator due to 'complex charges'

Maps pulls drawdown calculator due to 'complex charges'

The Money and Pensions Service (Maps) has removed its drawdown calculator from the Money Advice Service website, after it found the complexity of costs and charges made it difficult to compare products.

A note on the drawdown calculator’s landing page said the comparison tool was “no longer available”.

Maps told FTAdviser that it decided to shut down the tool after user testing showed the calculator did not allow savers to "easily compare products due to the complexity of costs and charges linked to investment choices".

A spokesperson said the tool had been “decommissioned” but the service and information that the tool provided remains available elsewhere on the websites of the Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise. 

The pensions drawdown calculator was launched in beta in April 2019 as an educational tool that informed customers of their drawdown options.

A spokesperson for Maps said: "The related educational resources can still be found elsewhere on the Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise websites, as part of our mission to help people easily access the information they need to make the right financial decisions for them.

“These resources provide free, impartial, and easy to understand information for consumers regarding pension drawdown. 

“For those who want to work out how much income they might get from pension drawdown, they can still use the Pension Wise drawdown calculator.”

In February, the Money Advice Service also launched an investment pathways comparator tool for people who intend to take some or all of their pension using drawdown without taking advice. 

The spokesperson said: “The tool educates consumers on what investment pathways are, helps them to make choices on investment pathways and gives them an idea of what the investment pathway market looks like. 

“It also gives people an opportunity to compare products, which wasn’t available before. For those who need more help, the tool signposts them to free and impartial pensions guidance services.”

But only last week (March 18), the tool came under criticism for leaving out “major providers”.

In a letter to Maps chief executive Caroline Siarkiewicz, Romi Savova, chief executive of consolidator PensionBee, raised issues with the service claiming it was “highly misleading” and “not fit for purpose”.

She said it was “wholly unacceptable” that the investment pathways of major providers still did not appear on Maps’ tool despite a month having passed since its launch. 

According to Savova the providers missing from the tool included AJ Bell, LV, Old Mutual and Vanguard.

Meanwhile, Maps also unveiled plans last week to consolidate its three legacy brands under one single service and rebrand itself as MoneyHelper.

From June, the consumer-facing MoneyHelper brand and website will be rolled out to make it easier for savers to find what they are looking for in one joined-up service.

Once the brand is live, the existing websites of the Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise will be replaced and redirected to the new MoneyHelper website, although Pension Wise will continue as a named service under the MoneyHelper umbrella.