MONEY MATTERS by Scott Woods of Bingham-Woods Independent Financial Advisors, Spalding

Staff at Bingham-Woods Indepedent Financial Advisors, Spalding.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
Staff at Bingham-Woods Indepedent Financial Advisors, Spalding. Photo by Tim Wilson.
  • Money Advice Service and Pensions Advice Service should merge, claims Royal London boss
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Insurers call for pensions and money advice body

Insurers Royal London Group are calling on the Government to merge the Money Advice Service (MAS) with The Pensions Advisory Service (PAS) to boost financial literacy in the UK. 
Dr Ros Altmann, the new Pensions Minister, is set to investigate the idea of expanding the remit of Government-backed guidance service PensionWise to all working people. 
The pledge was made prior to the general election and potentially casts doubt on the future of MAS. 
In a statement published alongside Royal London’s first quarter results, chief executive Phil Loney set out five key priorities for Dr Altmann. 
These include introducing a “cheap and cheerful” regulated advice regime, reviewing pensions tax relief, increasing auto-enrolment contributions and legislating to make shopping around compulsory. 
Mr Loney also called for a merger of MAS and PAS to make a single, “truly excellent financial education service for all”. 
Royal London’s results revealed a huge surge in sales ahead of the introduction of new pension freedoms last month, with total new life and pensions business up 40 per cent year-on-year from £988 million to £1.38 billion. 
This was driven by a 68 per cent rise in individual pension sales, from £282 million to £474 million, while drawdown sales increased by 67 per cent to £244 million and group pension sales were up 16 per cent, from £444 million to £515 million. 
Protection sales through intermediaries were up almost a third, from £81 million to £107 million, while direct-to-consumer protection sales were £5 million during the quarter. 
Mr Loney said: “This is a very strong set of numbers, which comes on top of last year’s record results and in the key areas of pensions and protection, we continue to increase market share.

Money Matters with Scott Woods.

Money Matters with Scott Woods.

“The fact that we continue to do so is a result of our investment in the quality of our product and service proposition.”

In the key areas of pensions and protection we continue to increase market share - a result of our investment in the quality of our product and service proposition.

Phil Loney, chief executive of Royal London Group