George Osborne warns pension firms about advice risks

Chancellor says guaranteed guidance on pension choices offered must be provided by independent organisations rather than pensions schemes or providers

Personal Finance Editor

Pensions firms were warned by the Chancellor this morning to keep away from advising people on what to do with their retirement pots, although they effectively will be forced to pay for independent advice for retirees.

George Osborne said that the guaranteed guidance on pension choices offered as part of new rules announced in this year's Budget must be provided by independent organisations rather than pensions schemes or providers.

He pointed out that Treasury research showed that "consumers would not trust guidance given by a person or organisation with a vested interest in selling a financial product or service".

Osborne said: "We’re making sure that people have the right support to make their own choice about how best to finance their retirement. Everyone with defined contribution pension savings reaching pension age will get free and impartial guidance."

The decision follows years of concerns that annuities may have been missold as pension providers were allowed to effectively put people into the firm's own products, irrespective of whether they were the best or most cost-effective option.

Osborne's statement draws a line under that practice and he claimed that some 18million people will be able be to benefit from the changes, which come into force in April 2015.

Pensions guidance in the future will be offered through a range of ways, including web-based, phone-based as well as face-to-face, through organisations such as the Pensions Advisory Service and Money Advice Service.

The advice will be free to the consumer but will be paid for by a levy on regulated financial services firms, the Treasury said. 

Pensions expert Ros Altmann said: "The guidance opens the door for new and better products, as well as improving financial literacy nationwide. It could be the start of a whole new industry, which will ensure people have a better idea of how to plan their finances and how to assess their retirement options."

The Treasury also confirmed that it will allow new pensioners in private sector defined benefit schemes to transfer into defined contribution pension schemes but with two new safeguards - a requirement to take advice and new guidance for trustees of the existing schemes.

Responding to that Standard Life said: "We are pleased the Government has ensured that private sector employers retain their right to manage their affairs in the interests of their businesses and employees.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Supporting role: at the Supreme Court, Rhodes was accompanied by a famous friend, the actor Benedict Cumberbatch
booksPianist James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to stop the injunction of his memoirs
Sport
Sam Allardyce
sport
Sport
Steven Gerrard scores for Liverpool
sport
Arts and Entertainment
Bob Dylan
art
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?