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TPAS reports post-freedoms demand spike


The Pensions Advisory Service has reported a huge surge in customer volumes following the introduction of the pension freedoms in April.

TPAS has been charged with delivering the telephone portion of the Government’s Pension Wise guidance service. Citizens Advice is providing face-to-face guidance, while the Treasury has developed the online service.

Earlier this week the Treasury announced the Department for Work and Pensions would take responsibility for Pension Wise by the end of 2015.

TPAS chief executive Michelle Cracknell says enquiries have almost doubled year-on-year in the five months to August, from 38,000 to over 70,000.

She says: “The start of 2015/16 has seen a continuation of high volumes of customers accessing our services.

“In the first five months to August, we have seen an 84 per cent increase compared with the same period in 2014/15. We are delighted but we believe this is just the start.

“The next few years will see the pension landscape go through further dramatic changes; completion of automatic enrolment, introduction of the new state pension in 2016, review of taxation of pension funds and [the] impact of pension reforms.

“The major culture change is the shift to personal responsibility to make provision for retirement income, where it [is] essential that people feel empowered and are equipped with the tools required to make informed choices.

“This will generate even greater need and demand for pension guidance.”

In total TPAS says it helped 103,000 people in 2014/15. The service also cut the average cost per direct contact over the last five years, from £40.93 in 2010/11 to £33.58 in 2014/15.



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  1. Given that the vast majority of calls to the PAS are probably from people wanting to do the wrong thing with their pension funds and may well do so regardless of what they’re told by a PAS counsellor (such as seeking out proper advice for which they’ll have to pay but probably don’t want to, hence they’ve phoned the PAS), it’s somewhat strange that Ms. Cracknell should be so delighted. Or is her delight based simply on the fact that the phones are ringing and that her staff have something to do?

    A £100 voucher system for a preliminary consultation with a qualified adviser would be vastly less costly and most competent advisers, I suspect, could probably determine within an hour whether or not the enquirer’s interest in cashing in his pension fund/s is likely to be a prudent course of action (which, in the great majority of cases, it probably won’t be).

    Then again, my guess is that advisers would probably experience such terrible difficulties and delays redeeming the vouchers (isn’t that the way such schemes usually go?) that most, after not very long, would decide to abandon participation in the scheme unless the onus to reclaim the £100 was shifted to the customer.

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