Savers seeking Pension Wise guidance increases significantly

The number of savers who have sought guidance from Pension Wise in 2018/19 increased by more than 55,000 year-on-year, to 167,726.

Government figures have revealed that the amount of people using Pension Wise increased by 37 per cent from 2017/18, and showed a more than three-fold increase from the 61,000 people seeking advice in the year of its inception (2015/16).

Since 2017, Pension Wise has provided digital appointments, which led to the largest year-on-year increase in total appointments, from 66,000 in 2016/17 to 122,000 in 2017/18.

In comparison to 2017/18, the number of digital appointments increased by just 3,000 in 2018/19, while the number of face-to-face and telephone appointments increased by around 27,000 and 15,000 respectively.

In an answer to a written question, Pensions Minister Guy Opperman noted that people aged over 50 with defined contribution pension schemes are eligible for a free Pension Wise advice appointment.

A recent survey from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) found that pension scheme members that use the service have a “greater understanding of the facts” than non-users.

DWP’s survey found that each of its eight questions were answered correctly by over 60 per cent of Pension Wise users, while each question was only answered correctly by 50 per cent or fewer of non-users.

In its report, the DWP stated: “There are two statements where customers’ knowledge has improved since 2016/17, with a larger proportion now answering correctly: not being forced to withdraw money as soon as you retire (up from 70 per cent to 76 per cent); and being able to mix your withdrawal options (up from 65 per cent to 70 per cent).

“There are also two statements where both customers’ and non-users’ knowledge has declined since 2016/17: being able to start taking money at age 55 (down from 73 per cent to 68 per cent for customers); and taking all the money from your pension in one go (down from 67 per cent to 61 per cent for customers).

“The gap between customers and non-users is, however, consistent across both years.”

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