Pensions permit mooted

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The Independent Online
FINANCIAL advisers may have to get special permission from a new investment watchdog before they are allowed to sell pensions.

The crackdown is being discussed by the Personal Investment Authority, which will take over regulation of advisers next year. Its proposal follows a report last week that showed sales of more than nine out of 10 personal pensions to people opting out of company schemes did not meet acceptable standards of advice, because they was based on inadequate information.

The proposal involves making pensions a special category. Advisers would have to prove their expertise before talking to clients on the subject.

A PIA spokesman said the matter was still at the discussion stage: 'It was not found to be necessary in the past, but it may become necessary now.'

The regulator's move has won the support of one insurance company, Albany Life. Its marketing director, Malcolm Kerr, said: 'Pensions are a very complex area and we would back any initiative that would bring about improvements in advice.'

Albany has sold more than 100,000 personal pensions since 1988 but has not had to compensate a client for transferring money out of a public-sector scheme.

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