Following the successful launch of the government’s Pension Wise guidance service in April this year the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Harriett Baldwin, today (16 Sept 2015) announced at an evidence session for the Work and Pensions Select Committee that responsibility for delivery of the service will move from the Treasury to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) by the end of the financial year.
The move to DWP will not mean a change to the service itself or to its delivery partners, the Citizens Advice Bureau and The Pensions Advisory Service.
Harriett Baldwin said:
The government established Pension Wise to ensure that people who are able to access their pension flexibly have the information and guidance they need to make considered decisions regarding their pension pot. The launch of the service has been a success, with over 90% of customers who completed the exit survey reporting that they are satisfied or very satisfied following an appointment.
I am pleased to announce that in line with the Committee’s previous recommendation, Pension Wise will now be transferred from the Treasury to DWP. Pension Wise has a strong strategic fit with DWP and the current aim is for this transfer to be completed by 31 March 2016.
Minister for Pensions Baroness Ros Altmann said:
Our new pension reforms give people real flexibility over how and when they use their hard-earned savings in retirement and are providing the freedom and choice that people deserve.
Pension Wise is playing a vital role in ensuring that people have the guidance and support to decide what to do with their pension and what important issues they should consider. I look forward to this excellent work continuing at the Department for Work and Pensions.
The Economic Secretary to the Treasury also announced that the government will be making core data, including website visits and number of appointments, publicly available and update it regularly.
In April this year the government brought in ground-breaking pension reforms, giving around 320,000 individuals retiring each year with defined contribution pension savings the option to access them as they wish. To guide people through their options the Treasury set up the free and impartial Pension Wise guidance service, which is available online, over the phone and face to face. All of the guidance specialists are trained to rigorous FCA standards and the course is accredited by the Chartered Insurance Institute.
The move of Pension Wise from HMT to DWP in March 2016 is timed with the end of the financial year and the end of the first set of Grant Agreements with delivery partners.
The FCA and TPR today published high-level findings from a data-gathering exercise into exit charges, which will form part of the evidence of the Treasury’s consultation into pension transfers and exit charges. The consultation is due to close on 21 October