Pensions  

Under-saving 'crisis' requires single financial guidance body: Tisa

Under-saving 'crisis' requires single financial guidance body: Tisa

Public and private sector must come together to create a single, affordable guidance service that tackles the UK's "chronic economic crisis of under-saving", the Tax Incentivised Savings Association (Tisa) has said.

It argued that the government's disparate guidance services, including The Money Advice Service, The Pension Advisory Service and PensionWise, should be "consolidated into a single financial guidance body [SFGB] for greater consumer clarity and engagement".

In a submission to the government's public financial guidance review, Tisa pointed out that one third of UK households had no savings at all, while 66 per cent had £1,500 or less.

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And while it said auto-enrolment had improved retirement savings, it said that the "vast majority" were saving too little.

The submission also said six million employees and 4.5 self-employed people still fell outside of the scope of auto-enrolment - accounting for one third of the workforce.

Charles McCready, director at Tisa, said: "Financial guidance must be made accessible to everyone, with particular attention paid to how these services are provided to the elderly and more vulnerable.

"There is a nationwide savings gap which needs to be addressed through greater awareness of the importance of long-term saving, improved accessibility and guidance that covers the full range of consumer needs."

He said this should be delivered through multiple channels such as face-face, call centres and online support, and that this should be achieved through "working with both the private and public sector to ensure a consistent consumer experience underpinned by the latest relevant technology and products".

"The SFGB should also co-ordinate their services with other strategic initiatives including auto-enrolment, pensions dashboard, portable fact finds and digital ID so that the consumer experience feels integrated and easy to use," he said.

At a recent pensions conference hosted by the Trades Union Congress, pensions minister Richard Harrington said he favoured the creation of a single, comprehensive financial guidance body.

He said the government would “be legislating for a single guidance body”, and that it could cover financial areas beyond pensions, such as mortgages.

james.fernyhough@ft.com