Advisers hit out at ‘deeply worrying’ rise in Pension Wise costs

Pension Wise jenga

The increasing cost of Pension Wise guidance appointments has been attacked by advisers after it rose 7 per cent in a month.

Latest figures from the Treasury show the average cost of a Pension Wise appointment surged from £516 in December to £554 in January, with officials blaming the increase on marketing and awareness raising campaigns.

However, advisers say the cost is now closing in on their own services.

Combined Financial Strategies chartered financial planner Jonathon McColgan says: “I’ve seen reports that the most people would be willing to pay is something like £450 for advice, so if you marry that figure with what we’re already paying for Pension Wise, you can see the concern.

“If consumers aren’t willing to spend that and the Government is spending even more than that, there’s a bit of a dislocation there.

“The reality is for that money you are not talking about much more for people to get fully regulated advice. And the way those figures are increasing it won’t be long before it breaches that, and the Government would have been better off just offering vouchers.”

Wingate Financial Planning director Alistair Cunningham says his own firm charges £600 for an initial meeting and written report, which lays out options for clients. He says: “I would expect that we are not the cheapest of firms either, so there must be other firms that are offering similar services and some even cheaper than Pension Wise.”