The Treasury and Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have launched a consultation on merging financial guidance services into a unified body to provide a more efficient and central support service.
The consultation, launched on 19 December, seeks industry views on developing a consumer-focused and sustainable service which offers value for money.
The service - which was first announced in October - could see The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS), the Money Advisory Service (MAS) and Pension Wise being merged from autumn 2018.
It would provide guidance and information for savers with occupational or personal pensions, including help on accessing defined contribution (DC) pots and planning for retirement. It would also seek to help savers avoid pension scams and fraud, and co-ordinate non-governmental financial education for young people and children.
The departments also envisage the body taking a "strategic role" by working alongside the charity and financial services sectors to better understand consumer need.
The consultation particularly highlights the need for a single service in light of more people engaged in pensions through auto-enrolment and Freedom and Choice, and the increasing prevalence of scams.
It also outlines how the proposed body would be funded, stating that existing levies which fund the MAS, TPAS and Pension Wise would continue at the same rate. However, the industry fees may reduce over the time as the body becomes more efficient.
Announcing the consultation, pensions minister Richard Harrington said a single service would help ensure savers make the most of their money.
"We want to ensure that everyone has access to high quality and impartial financial guidance, to help them make the most of their hard-earned savings," he said.
"This new single body will be a place people can go for free, impartial financial guidance, and I look forward to hearing people's views on our proposals."
The service would also provide guidance on debt-related problems, and improving financial capability in the wider population.
Economic secretary to the Treasury Simon Kirby added consumers would be clearer on where to go for guidance.
"We want to help people take charge of their finances, and make the financial decisions that are right for them," he said. "This new body will ensure that help is readily available for people who need to access debt advice, information on their pensions, or guidance on money matters."
Hymans Robertson partner Rona Train welcomed the proposal but said more specific guidance was needed to help savers.
"It makes sense to have one source of financial guidance," she said. "This will give individuals more clarity on where they need to go to get support.
"While this is a step in the right direction, we need to remember that these generic advice services are rarely going to give people the levels of support they need in the face of so much more complexity post pension freedoms.
"People need access to better tools to help them understand their own personal circumstances. Technology has a big role to play here. The Government's ambition for a pensions dashboard would help, but there are valid concerns over whether this will be ready by its deadline.
"To fill that advice gap we need better online tools, potentially provided through the workplace, that help people understand the impact of their decisions all through their working life to retirement in personal rather than generic terms."
The consultation is open for responses until 13 February 2017.
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