The Citizens Advice Bureau has named its first 44 sites that will deliver face-to-face sessions as part of the government’s guidance guarantee, Pension Wise.
People will be able to book guidance appointments at any Citizen Advice office but will have to travel to a designated delivery centre for the session itself.
Each centre will have between three and seven members of staff, depending on the demand in the area.
The bureau will also use a range of outreach locations to deliver guidance through England and Wales to ensure maximum access to the face-to-face service.
Citizens Advice staff also will be trained and assessed against the Financial Conduct Authority’s standards before they are allowed to offer guidance to the public.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Pensions guidance will be crucial in helping people understand their options as they approach retirement age.
“These 44 Citizens Advice Bureaux selected as delivery centres will be key to bringing the Pension Wise service to life and making sure that as many people as possible can access the guidance.”
Tom Mcphail, head of pensions research at Hargreaves Lansdown, added: “In reality, I think take up of the face-to-face service is likely to be very limited, with the vast majority choosing to go online or over the phone instead.
“Past experience of investors’ failure to take up their rights to shop around for a retirement income shows that even relatively small barriers can be enough to deter people from taking action, even when it is in their best interests. An hour’s drive to get access to the face-to-face service will probably be more than enough to put many people off.
“Initially the matching of resources to demand is likely to be particularly difficult, but subsequently the Pension Wise service should settle into a steady equilibrium.
“In the meantime, there is still a critical role for the pensions industry to play in helping investors to find answers to the questions which will arise from the guidance sessions and in helping them to actually convert their pension savings into a suitable retirement income.”
The 44 locations include:
- Lincoln and district.
East of England:
- Central and East Northamptonshire.
- Diss, Thetford and District.
- Merton and Lambeth.
- East End.
- Sutton Borough.
- North Tyneside.
- Chesire West.
- North Liverpool.
- Lancashire West.
- West Oxon.
- Hastings and Rother 1066.
- High Wycombe.
- Arun and Chichester.
- Staffordshire Southwest.
- Worcester and WHABAC.
Yorkshire and Humber:
- Hull and East Riding.
- Hambelton and Richmondshire.
- Cardiff and Vale.
- Yns Mon.