Getting a proper pension guidance service?

pensions wise 3

What’s happened to Pension Wise? After all the secrecy and the consultations and  the big reveal – the sum impact on our nation’s financial awareness appears hard to measure, as in “hard to discern”.

Looking at TPAS’ latest stats, the nation’s capacity to pick up the phone and ask pension questions is growing fast

April 2014 – 6,000 calls taken   Pensions wise2

April 2015 – 9,000 calls taken

April 2016 – 13,000 calls taken


Every time i look at TPAS they’re up to something new. If it’s not web chat , its soft phones. I had to look soft phones up. A soft phone is a piece of software that allows the user to make telephone calls over the Internet. Clever is you want to work from home and charge the bill to your boss. I think it’s a posh phrase for Skype.

If TPAS have been a big winner from the Pension Freedoms, the same cannot be said for the Money Advice Service which is in the throes of being re-established as a website. As for the Citizens Advice Bureau’s face to face service, I have yet to hear of anyone using it.



So much then for face to face advice for everyone. As I’ve said here before, it is almost impossible not to intimate what you really think face to face. Body language and eye contact are the giveaways as to what people actually think, the great advantage of the phone and web is that they deliver information without the emotional vias.

But the big win for TPAS is that they employ people who can actually help and are not upgraded BOTS programmed to deliver “not advice”.

Which brings me from the past to some view of the future.

If we are to believe the noise, the Pensions Bill will have a section in it devoted to Pensions Wise (v 2.0), which lets hope is a little more helpful and a little less constrained than what we’ve  had before.

Taps’ top tips for making Pension Wise 2.0 a success

  1. Give it a new name which includes the words pension and advice
  2. Give it a promotional budget -just cos you’ve built it doesn’t mean they’ll come
  3. Man and woman  it with specialist pension experts with experience
  4. Get those offering advice to challenge their customers to engage with key issues
  5. Make sure the tax-payer gets VFM by focussing on the services people use – telephone, web chat and video-calls.

Let’s learn from last year and lets re-launch whatever we call v2.0 with enthusiasm and energy. The very good news is that Charlotte Clark has been made the Senior Regulatory Officer for whatever emerges and she doesn’t let things fail.

Pensions wise

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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8 Responses to Getting a proper pension guidance service?

  1. … and get it to do some sums! People need to understand the bottom line effect on total income of taking money out of their pots (or leaving it in). That means being able to talk about the tax and benefits impact of taking money and the different effects of taking capital and income.

  2. Ian Williams says:

    Actually 2/3 rds of the people who use pension wise visit the Citizens Advice and obviously prefer face to face meetings than dealing on the phone. Other points may be that using the word advice in the pension sise title was a critiscism of MAS because they never actually offered advice. Also my understanding of the people in CA in the pension wise dept are that they are extremely knowledgable and experienced. The other point is that there has already been extensive marketing of PW and will continue to do so voing forward.

  3. henry tapper says:

    I hadn’t realised so many people who use Pension Wise do so with face to face advice from Citizens Advice Bureaux. If this is the case, I have to admit I haven’t met them yet.

    That doesn’t prove you wrong, more likely it proves me out of touch with people like me close to retirement. Which is a worry for someone who is trying to understand what is happening.

    • Chris Wrightson says:

      Speaking as a Pension Wise Guidance Specialist (TPAS based) I can confirm that Ian is correct with his stats.

      I have over twenty years of pensions experience and must say there is a wealth of knowledge here at Pension Wise. I’m glad I came here to work as my knowledge is expanding daily. I’m sure there’s plenty of knowledge at the CAB too!

      There is a massive difference between advice and guidance and it would be dangerous to mislead people as to what a Pension Wise appointment actually is.

      • henry tapper says:

        I thought that Pension Wise embraced both TPAS and CAB Chris. I totally agree with you about TPAS, but I know nothing about the CAB service, never having met anyone who provided advice there – sorry guidance.

      • henry tapper says:

        I think everyone should relax! These pension wise meetings sound so tense!

      • Chris Wrightson says:

        ……and you do think that is Henry?

      • Chris Wrightson says:

        Sorry, that was supposed to read : …”why do you think that is? “

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