The government has revealed plans to overhaul its financial advice services, consolidating three bodies down into one.
Under proposals released by the department for work and pensions, the Money Advice Service, the Pension Advice Service and Pension Wise will be replaced with a yet-to-be-named single new body.
"This new single body will be a place people can go for free, impartial financial guidance," said pensions minister Richard Harrington.
According to Tom Selby, a senior analyst at stockbrokers AJ Bell, the current three pronged financial advisory approach was becoming "increasingly disjointed". He added:
Moving to a single guidance body should reduce the costs paid by the industry – and ultimately by consumers who buy products and services – and create a simpler system. Information and guidance, in partnership with regulated financial advice, have a vital role to play in boosting engagement around pensions and finance in general.
Creating effective signposting to regulated financial advice will be crucial in ensuring people get the financial help they need.
Meanwhile, insurer LV's head of policy Philip Brown also welcomed the planned shake-up
“Following the vast number of pension reforms in recent years, helping people with retirement should be a main focus for the new body and we’re pleased to see it will cover both occupational and personal pensions," he said.
However, Andrew Pennie, the head of pathways at Intelligent Pensions felt the government advisory service could only so far and should be act as a bridge to direct the public towards accessing regulated advice from paid professionals.
“The government free guidance service is necessary and can certainly help people with very basic needs, he said. "Where I would really like to see the service extend and improve is in directing people to regulated advice where the need is identified. This must go beyond simply telling people they need to seek advice, as people then struggle to identify a suitable adviser."