Govt eyes Pension Wise expansion

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The Government is considering expanding the eligibility criteria for new guidance service Pension Wise just three months after its launch, Money Marketing understands.

Initially the Treasury said only people within six months of their 55th birthday could use the service, but this could be lowered to 50.

The requirement to be within six months of making a retirement decision before using the service could also be removed, as could the two-week waiting period imposed on appointments.

The changes could be in place as early as this month.

Before she was appointed to the role, new pensions minister Ros Altmann was to hold a wide-ranging review of the pension system, including whether to expand Pension Wise.

The service is funded by an industry levy, with advisers expected to pay £4.2m towards costs estimated by the Government at £35m for its first year.

In the weeks prior to the freedoms taking effect, Government figures showed just 1,800 people had booked appointments with Pension Wise.

However, there was capacity for up to 10,000 appointments a week in April and over 400,000 appointments a year. Pension providers on the other hand, were deluged with enquiries as the largest firms fielded 3,000 calls a day each.

Citizens Advice deliver face-to-face appointments, while The Pensions Advisory Service run the telephone service.