Are you Wise enough?

Providing sound financial advice or referring your clients to the right source of information is vital for will writers, as it ensures clients are getting the most out of their savings and investments, as well as leaving a satisfactory plan and legacy. Various schemes, such as Pension Wise, have been introduced to make unbiased and trustworthy help available for effective life planning — but is it enough?

Pension Wise, a government scheme giving online retirement guidance, launched in January of this year. The scheme aims to give those over the age of 55 time to plan and manage their retirement funds, but has been receiving criticism of late.

It was introduced by Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, as part of the Government’s commitment to ‘guidance guarantee’ allowing those nearing retirement access to free and impartial guidance regarding their potential pension freedom choices, which came into effect in April 2015.

The free service endeavours to give consumers direction regarding new pension freedoms to ensure they cover their financial needs during retirement.

However, one of the Government’s delivery partners, the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), recently stated that Pension Wise could’ve offered a more personalised service, allowing it to incorporate support for customers with other financial questions. “Pension Wise should provide simple tools to allow savers to produce their own plans for use of their retirement fund pot. These could allow savers to allocate different sums to different options to get broad indications of how long their money might last in comparison to life expectancy,” the Citizens Advice Bureau says.

CAB Chief Executive Gillian Guy said at the time: “We know people are getting what they need from a Pension Wise session but there is an opportunity to provide further support, whether that’s another appointment later in life or, for example, extra help around the implications for someone’s pension if they are divorced.”

Do you agree with the comments made from the CAB?

The service presented as “guidance”, not “advice”. It is a scheme that’s said to help retirees plan their pensions, and tell them how to shop around.

It has also been made clear in the press that the scheme will not:

  • Give technical advice
  • Advise on which particular product is right for you
  • Advise on how to mix an annuity with drawdown
  • Give help on investments

Customers are able to book a telephone appointment with the Pensions Advisory Service, or have a face-to-face interview with CAB.

Do you regard Pension Wise as an effective scheme for those approaching retirement?

At the time of the launch, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Andrea Leadsom said: “People who have worked hard and saved all their lives will be free to choose what they do with their money from next April. We want people to be empowered to make informed and confident choices and I’m delighted to announce Pension Wise: Your money. Your choice as the brand name for the impartial guidance service we are building. Pension Wise will be a first port of call for people with a defined contribution pension who are approaching retirement. It is a distinctive brand, making it easy for consumers to know where to go for help and guidance.”

What are your views on this thought provoking subject? Please let us know by leaving a comment below.

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