Government to restructure financial guidance providers


Budget 2016: The government is to restructure the Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise into two new guidance bodies.

The move, which was detailed in the Budget 2016 documentation, is intended to ensure that consumers can access the help they need to make effective financial decisions.

The new structure will comprise a pensions guidance body and a new slimmed-down money guidance body. The latter will be charged with identifying gaps in the financial guidance market and commissioning providers to fill these.

Tobin Ashby, legal director in the insurance team at Pinsent Masons, said: “The Chancellor has announced changes to the organisations providing public guidance, ostensibly to provide more focus on money and debt guidance that customers need.

“There seems to be a clear move away from ‘advice’ terminology outside the regulated sphere towards ‘guidance’ for customers, which will help to remove at least one of the numerous areas of confusion surrounding the support of retail investment decisions.”

Malcolm McLean, senior consultant at Barnett Waddingham, added: “Underpinning the new pension freedoms with a fully functioning and effective advice and guidance service is clearly essential to the success of the policy. There has been some concern about the statutory guidance providers and the interaction between them. There has also been some concern with the level of take up of Pension Wise.

“Hopefully the provision of a new pensions guidance body will streamline the service and enable consumers to receive answers to their pension queries in one place at all stages of their lives. We await with interest to see exactly how this will develop and the nature of the new service that is provided.”