Half of all customers making an appointment with Pension Wise do so to get a specific recommendation on what to do with their pension pot despite this being outside the organisation’s remit, according to a Government survey.
However, the survey found those customers were no less satisfied with the service overall and 99 per cent of people who completed their appointment said their Pension Wise “guider” explained the service is impartial and does not make specific recommendations.
The Ipsos Mori survey, conducted for the Department for Work and Pensions, consisted of interviews with 1,906 Pension Wise customers between 29 February and 5 June 2016.
The research found that more than 90 per cent of customers using Pension Wise are satisfied with the service and 89 per cent of those who have an appointment go on to take further action on their pension saving.
Of the 6 per cent of customers who were dissatisfied with the service, the main reasons were that the appointment told them nothing new (41 per cent), the service wasn’t personalised enough (33 per cent), and that it didn’t give them a specific recommendation (24 per cent), even though almost all customers said this was explained to them by Pension Wise.
The most common reasons for customers booking a Pension Wise appointment were to find out about their pension options (90 per cent of customers), to find out more information generally about retirement or pensions (83 per cent), and to find out their next steps for retirement (63 per cent).
In total, 89 per cent of Pension Wise customers had taken at least one concrete action regarding their pension after their appointment. The most common actions taken, all by more than half of customers who completed their appointments, were speaking to their pension provider (60 per cent), making a decision on which option to take (57 per cent), and calculating their retirement income (56 per cent).
Government-backed Pension Wise was launched in April 2015 alongside the pension freedoms to provide free guidance for people over the age of 50 with defined contribution pensions on the options available to them on accessing their pension pot.
The Government announced in March that The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise will be replaced with a single pension guidance body. The new body will also include the pensions services offered by the Money Advice Service.
DWP is to publish further findings from the survey in 2017.