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Govt eyes pension guidance cuts over duplication concerns

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The Government is considering “rationalising” the guidance services offered by the Money Advice Service and Pension Wise to reduce duplication between the offerings.

Currently, pension guidance is provided through Citizens Advice and the The Pensions Advisory Service in the form of Pension Wise, while the MAS also publishes retirement savings information on its website.

In a consultation document on public sector provision of financial guidance, published alongside a call for input in the Financial Advice market Review, the Treasury says: “There is crossover in the provision of public financial guidance on pensions for decisions taken at retirement between the organisations in scope of the consultation, particularly on web content.

“In addition, with three streams of levy funding being directed towards activity which has a pensions guidance element, there may be an opportunity to rationalise the delivery of statutory pensions guidance.”

The Treasury goes on to describe the organisation of the guidance landscape as “complicated” .

It says: “This is not an inherent problem, but it does provide an opportunity to consider whether the provision or funding could be rationalised; or whether new opportunities could be explored which better address consumer need.”

One suggestion cited by the Treasury would be the introduction of a voucher-scheme “whereby a consumer could be provided with one or multiple vouchers for financial guidance sessions which could be redeemed with a range of accredited partners”.

A Treasury spokesman had not responded to request for further comment on the proposal at the time of publication.

At the same time, the paper also notes that the recent decision to house Pension Wise in the Department for Work and Pensions may only be temporary, with a long-term home for the service still being sought by Government.

It says: “A machinery of government change has been announced to move the service from HM Treasury to the Department for Work and Pensions in the short term, but the final long-term home of the service has not been determined, and is being considered in the context of a broader consideration of public financial guidance.”

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