Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd said:
“It’s good that people will now be able to book appointments for guidance from Pension Wise. Getting Pension Wise up and running is a vital step towards helping people make more informed decisions about their finances, so anyone approaching retirement shouldn’t make any hasty decisions they might regret and instead should wait for their guidance session.
“Which? has launched a free guide to help people make the most of their sessions, and we expect the Government to keep a close eye on how well the service is working.”
· Establishing a Government-backed income drawdown provider to ensure everyone can access a good value, low cost product;
· Introducing a charge cap for default drawdown products; and
· Safeguarding savings in schemes that go bust.
2. Which? has launched a free guide, supported by the ABI, to help people make the most of their Pension Wise session and secure a good deal for their hard-earned savings.The free guide is available to download at: www.which.co.uk/
3. To ensure that Pension Wise serves consumers effectively, Which? recommends:
· Easing the Pension Wise customer journey: The Government should work with industry to introduce the infrastructure that would allow pension providers to book an appointment directly with Pension Wise for customers, or put them through (if communication is by phone) to the Pension Wise appointment booking service.
· Introducing a pensions passport: The Government should work with industry to introduce a single Pensions Passport so consumers have the information they need before guidance. In the long-term, the Government should create a comprehensive pensions and savings dashboard that enables consumers to see all their pensions and savings in one place.
4. To understand the impact of the reforms and take action where further change is needed, Which? recommends:
Monitoring progress of the new reforms: It will be important to assess whether the new pension reforms are leading to greater choice and better value pension products, whether people can access their money without high charges and whether pensions guidance is fit for purpose.
The Government should monitor the market closely, using the five key tests, to see whether the system is delivering for consumers:
1. Do people have the information they need before using Pension Wise?
2. Are people able to access good quality guidance via Pension Wise?
3. Are active choices taking place, or are consumers being passively defaulted?
4. Are drawdown and new products accessible to the mass market?
5. Do drawdown and new products offer good low cost options?