PLSA AC 2021: Guidance and advice not ‘either/or’ - Maps

Guidance and advice can be used together effectively to benefit savers and does not have to be a case of either/or, Money and Pensions Service (Maps) chief executive, Caroline Siarkiewicz, has suggested.

Speaking at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) Annual Conference 2021, Siarkiewicz stated that “one of the things that often gets overlooked is that savers do not always just need one or the other” [guidance or advice].

“Sometimes it’s really good for a customer to get some guidance through Maps because what that then will do is help them ask some of the question they have and almost get them ‘advice-ready’,” Siarkiewicz said.

“So, I don’t think it’s a case of ‘either/or’; there is a role for both. I think the guidance we deliver really does help people and support them in their need, but it is very important to identify that, when people do need financial advice, that they receive that advice,” she added.

According to Siarkiewicz, popular pension queries from Maps’ customers include pensions tracing, auto-enrolment, complex questions around pensions and divorce and how to recover lost money through scams.

Siarkiewicz revealed Maps’ ‘pension guidance transformation agenda’ divides the support people need with their pensions into four broad areas.

There are ‘specific problems’ about their pension, such as DB-DC transfers, ‘holistic money and pensions guidance’ at key life events – starting work, marriage, divorce, bereavement etc, ‘supporting retirement and later-life planning’ through helping people understand what retirement provisions they have and what more they can do to improve outcomes, and finally, at ‘taking a pension’, the guidance/advice people may need.

She also stated that dashboards were “only part of the story” with getting people to engage in the pension space. Instead “it’s about having that information and education resources out there to help people choose the right financial products, such as Maps’ new Retirement Planning Hub”, Siarkiewicz suggested.

Maps’ plans to deliver the new retirement planning hub and launch mid-life MOTs, as well as focusing on later-life guidance, will be published in the autumn, Siarkiewicz also revealed.

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