The SFGB is intended to streamline the work of three different financial help bodies.
Last week saw the launch of the Single Financial Guidance Body (SFGB), combining the services previously carried out by the Money Advice Service, the Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise.
The SFGB is intended to streamline the work of these bodies and will have five core functions. As well as providing pensions guidance, day-to-day money guidance and debt advice to the public, the body will work with the Financial Conduct Authority to ensure consumer protection.
It will also devote itself to “strategy”, meaning devising plans involving the voluntary sector to help improve people’s financial capabilities and understanding.
Sir Hector Sants, SFGB chairman, notes: "The new organisation has a clear mission to help everyone manage their personal finances as well as their circumstances allow across the nation.
"We are creating an organisation which is seen as transparent, accountable, effective and above all respected by all, working hand-in-hand with the industry, our staff and our partners."
Steven Cameron, pensions director at Aegon, says he hopes the new body becomes “a one-stop guidance shop for those with simpler financial needs,” ending the confusion of multiple bodies.
He notes: “Merging the Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service and Pensions Wise into one organisation makes a lot of sense, given that money issues can’t generally be dealt with in isolation and that a combination of information about debt, savings, pensions and so on is often required.”
Cameron underlines the need for such a body, pointing out that Aegon research suggests 30% of workers are “just getting by” financially, while up to four million working days per year are lost due to money concerns.
“The SFGB should look to measure whether people who use their services feel more confident or reassured about their ability to take control of their money,” he says.
However, says Cameron, the most pressing task for the new body will be the development of the pensions dashboard. “The SFGB has been given the important role of spearheading the development of pension dashboards,” he says.
“While it will have other operational priorities, pension dashboards need to be a top priority so that individuals have access to the SFGB and other commercial pension dashboards, can readily see all of their private, workplace and state pensions in one place, and can better manage their retirement planning.”
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