The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has appointed Ann Harris as chairwoman of The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS).
Harris had taken on the position on an interim basis when former chairman Museji Takolia was forced to step down in September after declaring bankruptcy. At the time there was an understanding that Takolia, previously described by the DWP as "a champion of savers", would be able to return to the position if the bankruptcy were annulled.
Harris' appointment comes ahead of an expected unification of the government-backed financial advice bodies TPAS, the Money Advisory Service, and Pension Wise. A consultation on the proposal closed in February and the government is currently considering its response.
Harris, who was also previously a non-executive director of TPAS, said it was important to keep up standards after the merger.
"I am delighted with my new appointment as TPAS chair," she said. "This is an exciting time for TPAS as it prepares for the proposed transition to a new single finance guidance body. I am determined that it continues to deliver its core business of giving people professional, independent and impartial help with their private pensions."
Pensions minister Richard Harrington welcomed Harris' experience as more and more people use TPAS' services.
"Ann Harris brings a wealth of experience and skills to TPAS, which does excellent work in helping the public with pension inquiries," he said. "With more than 178,000 customers and more than 2.7 million visits to its website in the past year, TPAS' services are very much in demand so it's vital it attracts a senior leader of such high calibre."
Harris is a former civil servant, with experience in finance and programme management spreading over 40 years. She was awarded an OBE for services to the DWP in 2009, and previously sat as a trustee of the Civil Service Pension programme, management board and operations committee.
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