FCA announces plans for stronger nudge towards pension guidance

The FCA has today published final rules requiring firms to implement the stronger nudge to Pension Wise guidance.

From 1 June 2022 pension providers will have to give customers a stronger nudge to Pension Wise when they decide to access their savings. The changes will make it easier for consumers to book a free Pension Wise appointment.

Providers will be required to:

  • refer customers to Pension Wise guidance
  • explain the nature and purpose of Pension Wise guidance
  • offer to book a Pension Wise guidance appointment in most cases, or provide customers with information to help people who want to book their own appointment

The changes implement a requirement set by Parliament and are designed to increase take-up of the Pension Wise service, which offers free, impartial guidance to consumers about their pension options.

Our rules apply to providers of personal and stakeholder pension schemes, including operators of self-invested personal pensions. We have worked closely with the Department for Work and Pensions on these rules, as they are working on corresponding regulations for occupational pension schemes.

Improving outcomes in the pension market is a critical part of the FCA’s work on consumer investments, as announced in the FCA’s Business Plan 2021/22. We are focusing on ensuring consumers have the right level of advice and guidance to help them make informed pensions decisions.

In addition to this nudge, we have been consulting stakeholders to identify further ways of helping consumers access Pension Wise and other guidance at the most useful time in their pensions journey. We have also received feedback on other ways that the take-up of Pension Wise could be increased. We are working closely with DWP, the Money and Pensions Service and The Pensions Regulator to consider this feedback and whether more changes to our rules are required. Any further changes would be the subject of future consultation.