TPAS Publishes Annual Review
The increasing interest in pensions is highlighted by the one million plus visits to the Pensions Advisory Service's (TPAS) website. Website visits increased by 61%. Written enquiries also increased by 27%.
Details are given in TPAS's annual review "Advising on Pensions: A Review of Activities 09/10"
The report shows that visits to the TPAS website totalled 1,276,875. Over 74,000 calls were made to our helpline and 16,000 written questions were sent to us by email and post. 6,000 people attended presentations hosted by our 'talks in the workplace service'. The number of dispute cases (7,769) was similar to the number reported in our last review.
Our new website went live last September. Feedback showed that 98% of users found the site easy to navigate and 95% liked the new look. To help people with their decision-making, we have added further planners to the site. In addition to our annuity and contracting-out planners, planners to help people decide whether to pay a voluntary National Insurance contribution, and help employers understand their duties under auto-enrolment, were added.
The most popular subject that people sought guidance about was again the state pension, which accounted for 37% of all calls and 31% of written enquiries. Many people wanted to better understand the qualifying conditions and how they could improve their state pension.
In relation to private pension arrangements, the range of questions was again wide. Amongst the most popular subjects were: the effects of redundancy and leaving a pension scheme, tracing lost pension plans, decisions on retirement-saving, and the rules about trivial lump sums.
TPAS 'talks in the workplace' service grew in popularity. 261 presentations were made, attended by over 6,000 people.
The number of complaints referred to TPAS was fractionally more than in the previous 12 months. Complaints were mainly about delays, mistakes and applications for ill-health retirement.
TPAS Chairman, Partha Dasgupta said "Last year the number of web visits exceeded 1.2 million: a new record. The equivalent of one hit every 24 seconds. The overall demand for our services increased for the fifth consecutive year. This increase reflects the prevailing economic uncertainty and the state of flux in the pensions system.
TPAS' mission to explain and resolve pension issues could not be achieved without the support of the pensions industry, our staff and volunteer advisers. I thank them all on behalf of our customers"