Until now, consumers looking for help on money or pensions were usually sent to one of three places:

  • the Money Advice Service – for debt and finance questions,
  • the Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) – for pensions questions, and
  • Pension Wise – for help on the options available to members of defined contribution pension schemes approaching retirement.

MoneyHelper, the UK government’s new money guidance service, has been launched to bring together these three services.

Now there is one place for “free and impartial help with money, backed by the government”.

The new service offers help in a number of formats, including on its website or by phone, and covers every aspect of personal finance from buying a new home to saving for retirement or debt troubles.

Uniting pensions and finance might seem odd to those of us who work in one industry or the other, but I’ve found the best discussions on pensions are often part of a broader conversation on saving.

There are advantages in encouraging people to think about pensions early and as part of their wider finances and budgeting.

This approach is likely to become more important as people need to go beyond simply paying into a pension and then forgetting about it.

Of course, any transition is going to have costs associated with it. It takes time to build credibility – and the last thing the government will want to do is drive people to less reputable alternatives. A member with a complaint might miss having a dedicated pensions service such as TPAS.

But, once MoneyHelper enters the public consciousness, the move to create a one-stop shop for all government financial advice could help build credibility.

Until then, it’s important that pension trustees and providers signpost the new service. They can do lots to promote the service in scheme documents and communications, making sure that members with pension issues are going to the right place for help.

MoneyHelper has every chance to be an amazing resource for people with questions about pensions. It is great to be able to direct members to guidance which is free and credible.

It’s now up to us in the pensions industry to make sure members can find it.