TPAS reports post-freedoms demand spike

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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.