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Treasury reveals Pension Wise take-up

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Pension Wise has provided 18,000 guidance appointments since its launch, according to figures from the Treasury.

The Government has not broken down how many of these appointments were face-to-face through Citizens Advice and how many many were over the phone through TPAS, however.

Officials also estimate that in total 925,000 unique visitors have accessed the Pension Wise website, although no information has been provide on actions taken as a result of receiving guidance.

In addition, earlier this week George Osborne told members of the Treasury committee that 90 per cent of those who had used Pension Wise had reported satisfaction with the service in an exit survey.

However, the Treasury has so far been unable to provide any additional data to support the Chancellor’s claim.

The Government has previously declined to share information on the numbers of people it expects to use the service or satisfaction levels, and the figures come after experts warned that the service was operating under capacity.

Hargreaves Lansdown head of pension research Tom McPhail said: “Based on our own research, it appears that take-up of Pension Wise has been very low in the first weeks and months of the new regime. It is time the Treasury published its own data so we can see whether the official picture is any better.

“The idea of creating a new, independent service to deliver Pension Wise was always a high risk strategy for the Government. Take-up was never going to hit 100 per cent so the challenge now is to ensure that all investors get good service and good information even if they don’t use Pension Wise.”

In a written response to Labour Shadow pensions minister Lord Bradley, Treasury minister Lord O’Neill said in early July that as of 6 April, nearly 380 people had booked face-to-face appointments through the Citizens Advice service, while nearly 1,400 had booked telephone guidance.

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Comments

There are 5 comments at the moment, we would lover to hear your opinion too.

  1. The figures, if they cannot be backed up, can be taken as a load of dogs danglies

  2. If the cost of Pension Wise in year 1 is £35m and in the first 4 months 18,000 have used it that implies over 12 months 54,000 people will use it at an average cost of £648 each.

    Hmmmm….. could have paid for proper authorised and regulated advice for that amount 🙂

  3. @Nick Bamford that might pay for the advice itself but not for implementation of that advice surely?

  4. Charles Seymour-Cole 23rd July 2015 at 3:46 pm

    @Brian Gannon – they don’t get implementation through Pension Wise either, or regulated advice for that matter. Nicks’ right. As usual the government is spending far more of OPM than it needs to.

  5. Bald and basic data is all very well but what about outcomes? How many people who’ve received guidance have been successfully steered away from an unwise course of action or have been steered towards and actually taken quality regulated advice resulting in the best possible outcomes? What does “consumer satisfaction” mean in practice? The MAS likes to boast about its consumer engagement figures but what happens afterwards? There appears to be no subsequent follow up to ascertain just what action consumers actually took. They may have been satisfied with their interaction with the service but were they at least as satisfied with the eventual outcome?

    Without quantifiable data of that type, how can we know whether or not all these guidance sessions are worth what they’re costing, not least because most financial advisers are willing to have an initial exploratory chat with some useful guidance free of charge?

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