Understanding a pension can be difficult. For those who need help, a conversation with a real person makes a huge difference. We are working hard to make sure everyone can have that conversation with an expert, whether they need guidance or advice.
The Single Financial Guidance Body, set to launch in the winter, will offer free and impartial pensions and money guidance, and debt advice.
The three existing bodies it will join together – Pension Wise, The Pensions Advisory Service and the Money Advice Service – already help millions of people each year.
Pension Wise alone has had nearly seven million website visits and organised over a quarter of a million appointments in three years, while MAS has helped more than 480,000 people in a single year.
But it is clear not everything can be solved through guidance alone and that advice from experts should be sought where needed.
Indeed, the guidance body is part of a wider effort to make financial services easier to understand and access. And it has taken another step forwards with the appointment of Sir Hector Sants as chair.
He brings with him vast experience and knowledge on how best to support people with problem debt and build wider financial capability from a range of private and third sector organisations.
The guidance body will give people a place to turn when they need answers on their money and their pensions, as well as support in considering their future financial plans.
Advisers, meanwhile, will play a crucial role in further helping people understand what their money means for them.
Guidance and advice must complement one another to ensure consumers have everything they need for a more secure retirement. This is an important step on the path to creating more accessible financial services.
Guy Opperman is minister for pensions and financial inclusion