The Money and Pensions Service (MAPS) has issued its first Business Plan since assuming responsibility for giving financial guidance to the general public in the UK. MAPS now carries out the work previously undertaken by Pension Wise, the Money Advice Service and The Pensions Advisory Service.

MAPS chairman, the former Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) managing director Hector Sants, writes in the foreword to the report:

“2019/20 is an important transition year for the organisation in which we will continue our existing three services, invest and grow in areas where we have sufficient evidence that this is the right thing to do, and test and innovate where we know we need further evidence.”

Sir Hector cited the following statistics to emphasise how important the work of his newly formed organisation would be:

  • Nine million UK adults (more than one sixth of the total) are over-indebted
  • 7 million (more than one fifth) are not in the habit of saving regularly
  • 22 million (more than two-fifths) say they don’t have the necessary knowledge to plan effectively for their retirement

The report sets out the five main priorities for MAPS over the next 12 months.

Priority 1 is ‘Listen and Engage’, and here the Service says it will:

  • Carry out a comprehensive listening exercise, engaging with customers, firms paying the levy to fund MAPS, employers, regulators, parliamentarians in the UK Parliament and elected representatives in the devolved legislatures in the nations of the UK
  • Develop a National Strategy, to be published in November 2019, setting out how it will improve: consumers’ financial capability, the ability of consumers to manage debt issues and the provision of financial education to children
  • Advise HM Treasury as it seeks to develop a formal debt respite scheme (otherwise known as a ‘breathing space’ scheme)
  • Develop the pensions dashboard, which should allow people to see all of their pension provision in one place

In this section of the report, MAPS warns that it will notify the FCA when it becomes aware of practices being carried out by authorised firms that may cause customer detriment.

Priority 2 is ‘Streamline and Simplify’, and this mainly relates to how MAPS aims to deliver efficiency savings as it integrates the work of its three legacy organisations.

Priority 3 is ‘Invest and Grow’. Here, the Service announces plans to increase capacity so that, during this financial year, it can deliver 290,000 pensions guidance sessions, 205,000 pensions freedoms sessions, 560,000 debt guidance sessions and 170,000 money guidance calls, webchats or email exchanges.

Priority 4 is ‘Innovate and Test’, and areas mentioned in the report under this heading include:

  • Identifying whether those most in need of pension guidance are actually accessing MAPS’ services
  • Measuring the long-term effect of debt advice on those who are over-indebted
  • Working with the FCA to agree an accredited curriculum for debt advisers
  • Examining how it might make receipt of guidance the default option when a consumer seeks to access or transfer their pension savings

Priority 5 is ‘Build and Strengthen’, which concerns the ways in which MAPS will invest in staff development to ensure its employees can provide high quality guidance

The information shown in this article was correct at the time of publication. Articles are not routinely reviewed and as such are not updated. Please be aware the facts, circumstances or legal position may change after publication of the article