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Employers don’t trust government’s Pension Wise service

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More than half (51%) of employers do not trust the government’s Pension Wise service to give their staff adequate support around retirement decisions, according to pensions consultancy Hymans Robertson.

Nearly half (48%) of employers also worry employees will hold their employers responsible if they make poor decisions around their pensions pots.

From 6 April, dubbed pensions freedom day, people aged 55 and over will be able to access their pension pots in a variety of ways, making retirement decisions more complex.

To help consumers make decisions, the government is offering guidance via its Pension Wise service.

But Hymans Robertson senior investment consultant Rona Train said it is “very difficult” to see how Pensions Wise will be able to guide employees through understanding the range of options, and the tax implications of any decisions they make.

She added: “In that context, we’re surprised that around half of the UK’s biggest employers are confident it will be adequate".

The research of 100 HR directors in large organisations found 80% of HRDs believe employees will expect some help from their employer.

As many think the workforce will look to the company for advice (63%) as assume their staff will turn to the government (62%).

Train said the two biggest issues are the quality of guidance Pensions Wise will be able to offer, and the lack of support in place for those aged 55 who want to access their pension.

She said: “There appears to be a perception that people will be able to treat pension schemes like bank accounts from April – drawing money as and when they please. The picture is far more complicated than many realise, particularly from a tax point of view. It certainly won’t be as simple as most people expect.”

Train added: “People need access to better tools to help them understand their own personal circumstances. They need to be able to appreciate the impact of withdrawals from their pension schemes – particularly in relation to when they’ll be able to retire with an income that’s adequate – and then what levers they can use to get back on track.”