Research & insights

A guiding hand: improving access to pensions guidance and advice

Research & insights

A guiding hand: improving access to pensions guidance and advice


As the UK’s largest long-term savings and retirement business, we have an important role to play in helping our customers on their journey to and through retirement.

One of the biggest issues facing future retirees is the gulf in the help and support available to help them make decisions about their financial future throughout their life. The ‘Guidance Gap’ affects the majority of people, with over half worrying that they won’t make their desired income in retirement. We believe more needs to be done to close this Guidance Gap to help them.

To help inform discussions around this important issue, we have sponsored 'A Guiding Hand: Improving access to pensions guidance and advice,' a vital piece of research produced by the Social Market Foundation. 

 The report shows:

  • 80% of 50 – 64 year olds don’t seek independent financial advice, and advice is not likely to be the solution for everyone – the majority of people miss out on the benefits.
  • More than two thirds of UK 50–64-year-olds don’t know how much they'll need for retirement.
  • The average pension pot under-provision stands at 58% or £240,000 per year. This amounts to a total under-provision of £130bn per year among those reaching age 65.

We are using the findings of this research to help raise awareness and inform discussions, as we think it's important to work with the government, regulators, consumer groups and the advice community, to find a solution. We all have a responsibility to do our best to help people who are trying to save, and we need to take action now.  

Specifically we are calling for:

1. HM Treasury and Department for Work & Pensions to establish a joint working group with all interested stakeholders (Money and Pension Service (MaPs), FCA, industry and consumer groups) to explore the complexities and find solutions to enable all consumers to get sufficient help and support so they can enjoy better financial outcomes.

As part of this, it’s important to:

  • Ensure there is an appropriate control environment, to pilot approaches and assess consumer outcomes.
  • To develop solutions and propositions that close the retirement guidance gap, and deliver better consumer outcomes

2. Two initial measures to be given consideration, as this matter is urgent, and comprehensive solutions will take time:

  • Government and MaPs to expand the scope of Pension Wise to allow earlier and broader support to be provided
  • The FCA to give concrete examples of what ‘common sense’ help providers can give to customers in some specific scenarios

These steps will not solve the problem but they will help.

For more information on the work we are doing to address the Guidance Gap, please contact our Media Team