The Treasury has axed the Money Advice Service from delivering pensions guidance sessions to savers when the Budget reforms come into force next year.
The Pensions Advisory Service will deliver non-face to face guidance and Citizens Advice will deliver face-to-face.
The Treasury had lined up the MAS to play a key role but it has been significantly reduced and it will not be delivering frontline guidance.
The MAS will not play a role in delivering the digital service, with online guidance designed by the Government as part of the scheme.
In July, Treasury select committee chair Andrew Tyrie wrote to Chancellor George Osborne raising concern over the MAS’ involvement in delivering the guidance guarantee.
Speaking at a Citizens Advice Bureau in Sutton yesterday, Osborne said: “Giving people the freedom to manage their own pension is the backbone of this Government’s radical pension reforms and key to our long-term economic plan.
“That’s why I’m delighted that respected and impartial consumer advice organisations – Citizens Advice and The Pensions Advisory Service – will be offering free face-to-face and telephone guidance to people across the country from April, as promised in the Budget.
“These organisations have years of experience dealing with a variety of consumer issues and are well placed to be accessible to everyone who reaches pension age and feels they would benefit from the guidance.”
MAS chief executive Caroline Rookes says: “We are pleased that we are at the heart of the delivery team, working to develop the new guidance service. Our experts are seconded into HM Treasury, playing a key role in helping to build the online part of the service and develop the guidance which will be provided to customers. The Treasury have made it clear how much they value the contribution we are making.
“At the MAS we are developing more extensive help for people aged 55 and over, to supplement the support they will get from the new guidance service. This will include help on budgeting for retirement, guidance on the different options and products available and a new annuities comparison table.
“We’re also developing a new directory to make it easier for people to find a regulated adviser, if they need one.”
Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: “As a trusted, independent charity, Citizens Advice is in a unique position to deliver face-to-face pensions guidance. We have 75 years’ experience working at the heart of communities, helping people get to grips with their finances. It’s a natural fit for us to help people understand their pension options and make choices for their future.”