Govt urged to lift Pension Wise restrictions

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Savers should be able to access more than one free session of face-to-face pension guidance from Pension Wise, Citizens Advice has told MPs.

In its written evidence submission to the Work and Pensions select committee, filed ahead of today’s oral evidence sessions, Citizens Advice says restrictions on appointments should be lifted.

Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy says: “We know people are getting what they need from a Pension Wise session but there is an opportunity to provide further support, whether that’s another appointment later in life or, for example, extra help around the implications for someone’s pension if they are divorced.”

The service, which provides retirement guidance alongside The Pensions Advisory Service, argues that while it supports the extension of Pension Wise to 50-54 year olds announced in the Budget, many could benefit from guidance throughout the accumulation phase.

Equally, it says some users would like a second session to finalise their plans, while others may still want guidance after they start withdrawing savings.

It says: “We suggest the service should be made available to these people, perhaps linked to periodic prompts from providers to encourage them to take stock of their position.

“This will help guard against the risk that people run out of funds too early, or remain invested in assets wit ha risk profile that no longer matches their appetite.”

In addition, Citizens Advice says Pension Wise could offer a more personalised service, allowing it to incorporate support for customers with other financial questions.

It further argues that Pension Wise should provide simple tools to allow savers to produce their own plans for use of their DC pot.

These could allow savers to allocate different sums to different options to get broad indications of how long their money might last in comparison to life expectancy, Citizens Advice says.

It adds: “If this can be achieved, and referrals onto regulated advice can be improved, this will go a long way to helping more consumers get the personalised guidance and advice they need to make the best choices about their pensions”