The Government’s retirement guidance website continues to contain “misleading” errors and remains in development mode several days into the reforms it is designed to support.
The Pension Wise website went live on 11 February but is currently still in ‘beta’ mode, meaning it is under development.
In February experts warned technical details on the site were inaccurate and could give consumers the wrong impression of the cost and tax implications of the pension freedoms, which came into force on Monday.
The site said “there’ll be a charge every time you withdraw money” from flexi-access drawdown and there only “may” be a charge every time a small amount of cash is taken.
AJ Bell technical resources consultant Lisa Webster said: “It is much more likely to be the other way around. Some providers won’t charge for ad-hoc drawdown payments, but will for UFPLS.”
However, the statement has not been changed.
Towers Watson senior consultant David Robbins says: “Providers structure their charges in different ways and it is odd to pre-empt charges in this way. Not long after the Pension Wise site launched, Hargreaves Lansdown announced it would be charging on a percentage of funds under management basis.”
Under a section on flexi-access drawdown, the website previously said: “You can leave your pot to someone when you die but they would have to pay inheritance tax on it.”
This has now been chnaged to say “they may have to pay inheritance tax on it”.
The site has also been criticised for a lack of prominent signposts to regulated financial advice.
Financial advice is referenced at the end of the shopping around section – the sixth and final step which the site encourages users to take.
It now includes a link to the Money Advice Service’s at-retirement adviser directory, which went live this week, but no other changes have been made to signposting to advice.
Apfa director general Chris Hannant says: “We have spoken to the Treasury about making changes to improve the prominence of signposting to advice on the Pension Wise site. They said they would take it on board but it is yet to happen.”
The Treasury says more than three quarters of a million individuals have visited the Pension Wise website since it launched.