- 97% of appointment customers have already recommended the service to others or say they would do so
- 91% of appointment customers said Pension Wise helped them consider their options more thoroughly
- More than threefold increase in overall Pension Wise transactions since the service began
Rising numbers of people accessed guidance offered by Pension Wise in 2019/20, with a 23% increase in customers arranging appointments face to face and over the phone, and customers showing greater confidence in making pensions access decisions after using the service.
Run by the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), Pension Wise is a free service that helps people understand their options when accessing their pension pot(s).1 According to new figures from MaPS, in 2019/20 the service provided 205,000 interactions overall, compared to 167,000 in the previous year. This includes 160,000 face-to-face or telephone appointments arranged, compared with 130,000 in 18/19 – also a 23% increase year on year 2.
In the last three years, Pension Wise has also offered support to customers through its digital self-service offering, which was completed by over 45,000 people in 19/20, a rise of 22% year on year.3
Pension Wise has expanded rapidly since it launched five years ago, increasing over threefold from 60,000 transactions in 2015/16 to over 200,000 in 19/20.4
The 19/20 figures show that Pension Wise appointments have lasting effects – around nine in ten appointment customers felt that it helped them consider their options more thoroughly (91%) and that they learned something new (89%). Over half (57%) said that they had changed how they had/will access their pensions as a result.
97% of appointment customers are likely to recommend the service to others or have already done so and 94% were satisfied with the service - both consistent with the levels recorded in previous years.5
Appointment customers feel more informed, are more knowledgeable and take more positive steps towards accessing their pension pots than a similar group of people with defined contribution pensions who haven’t used the service.6 In the three-month period following their interaction with the service:
- Nine in ten appointment customers (93%) feel very or fairly well informed of their pension options compared to 60% of non-users
- Six in ten (61%) appointment customers calculate the income needed in retirement, versus 35% of non-users
- Over a third (36%) of appointment customers speak to a financial advisor, tax advisor or accountant versus 22% of non-users
- 95% of appointment customers also said they are very or fairly confident they are able to avoid any pension scams, compared with 79% of non-users.
- Of the 61% of appointment customers who spoke to their pension providers in this period, nine in ten (92%) felt they were well prepared for their discussion with providers about their pension options. They were more likely to feel prepared than the non-users who had spoken to their providers (72%).
Customers who made arrangements to access their pension savings within three months of their experience with Pension Wise in 19/20 are more likely to have taken steps to inform themselves prior to doing so:
- 84% of appointment customers checked how much tax they would pay based on their chosen options (versus 71% of non-users)
- 31% of appointment customers shopped around for quotes from other pension providers (versus 19% of non-users)
- 73% of appointment customers looked into any charges they might incur based on their chosen options (compared with 53% of non-users)
The impacts and satisfaction levels among people using the self-serve digital service are similarly positive to those of appointment customers. 88% say they have recommended or will recommend the service to others and 82% were satisfied with their overall experience. Almost nine in ten (86%) feel very or fairly well informed about their options and eight in ten feel the service helped them consider their options more thoroughly (79%) and learned something new (80%) as a result of using it.
Digital customers who have made their pension access arrangements are, following their interaction with the service, also more likely than non-users to take steps to inform themselves prior to doing so:
- 93% of digital customers checked how much tax they would pay based on their chosen options (versus 71% of non-users)
- 34% of digital customers shopped around for quotes from other pension providers (versus 19% of non-users)
- 77% of digital customers looked into any charges they might incur based on their chosen options (versus 53% of non-users)
Carolyn Jones, Head of Pensions Policy and Strategy at the Money and Pensions Service said:
“For most people, their pension is likely to be one of the most valuable assets they hold and many people could be in retirement for as long as their working lives. Given the impact of Covid-19 on people’s finances, it’s even more important for people to make the right decisions around how and when to access their pension pots, as this could impact the quality of their retirement. It’s great to see so many customers feeling informed and confident after using our Pension Wise service, and we are committed to increasing the usage of the service to help even more people understand their options during these challenging times.”
Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, Guy Opperman, said:
“Providing people with the necessary information to make informed choices about their financial futures is a key Government priority, and it is fantastic to see an increasing number of people taking advantage of the free and impartial guidance available from Pension Wise.
“We are focused on ensuring that consumers can stay on top of their pension savings, especially during these challenging times, and the support provided by the Pension Wise team is key to helping us achieve this.”
The full Pension Wise Service Evaluation report for 2019/20 can be accessed here:
- Pension Wise became part of the Money and Pensions Service in January 2019, which also incorporates the Money Advice Service and The Pensions Advisory Service. Prior to January 2019, Pension Wise was administered by the Department for Work and Pensions.
- In 19/20 there were over 97,000 face to face appointments, and more than 62,000 telephone appointments arranged = 160,000 in total
In 18/19 there were 90,000 face to face appointments, and 40,000 telephone appointments arranged = 130,000.
In 2017/18 there were 63,000 face to face appointments and 24,000 phone appointments arranged = 87,000
- The self-serve offering is a specific journey on the Pension Wise web site comprising a summary description of the six pension access options and further guidance around those options that the user finds of most interest.
- Pension Wise Transactions by year of operation
|Year||Number of transactions|
5. The proportion of appointment customers saying they have already or are likely to recommend Pension Wise to others was 96% in 2016/17, 95% in both 2017/18 and 2018/19 and 97% in 2019/20.
The overall proportion of appointment customers satisfied with Pension Wise was 94% in 2016/17, 92% on 2017/18, 93% in 2018/19 and 94% in 2019/20
6. The 2019/20 Pension Wise Service Evaluation survey was undertaken by Ipsos MORI and is based on initial interviews with 2282 appointment customers and 600 interviews with self-serve digital customers. These were followed around 3 months later by interviews with 857 appointment customers and 298 self-serve digital customers that were a subset of the initial sample. Interviews were also conducted with a comparison sample of 770 non-users with a similar demographic and pension arrangement profile to appointment customers. A full explanation of the survey methodology is given in the report.
About the Money and Pensions Service
The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) vision is: ‘everyone making the most of their money and pensions.’
MaPS is an arm’s-length body sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and it has a joint commitment to provide access to the information and guidance people across the UK need, to make effective financial decisions over their lifetime.
The organisation also engages with HM Treasury on policy matters relating to financial capability and debt advice.
MaPS brings together the free services previously delivered by the Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise. MaPS offers customers guidance and appointments over the telephone, online and in person.
For further information visit the Money and Pensions Service website www.moneyandpensionsservice.org.uk