Simon Read: Retirement advice is good - if it's impartial


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The Independent Online

George Osborne announced this week that pension firms will not be allowed to advise people on their retirement options from next April. But he's set a levy on financial firms to pay for free advice for those who need it.

Separating advice from firms that flog pension products is essential to ensure that we never again endure the years of people being gently eased into their pension company's overly expensive annuity.

But with new flexible annuities remaining a crucial option, it's essential that guidance helps people understand their options.

With the "free face-to-face" advice mentioned in the Budget turning into "a range of ways, including web-based and phone-based" it's crucial that folk receive the right advice.

With 18 million people's future at stake, the Financial Conduct Authority has its work cut out ensuring that the likes of the Money Advice Service and Pensions Advisory Service can step up to the challenge.

Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Treasury Select Committee has already questioned the inclusion of the Money Advice Service in the Chancellor's plans after his committee expressed "serious concerns about the ability of the MAS to perform its functions".

With that hanging over it and fears no independent services are equipped to help the millions who need advice with their pensions, the Chancellor must urgently sort out the mess he may be making.

Twitter: @simonnread

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