Responding to the Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR) final report published today (Monday), Graham Vidler, Director of External Affairs, Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association, commented:
“The context for this report is important, coming as it does after the first wave of savers have made use of the relatively new pension freedoms. Our research1 shows that 'Freedom & Choice' has left many savers fearful and confused about making the right decisions with their pension savings in order to provide an income throughout their retirement. It also shows that advice is part, but only part, of the solution given that there is significant resistance among savers to seek financial advice. The root cause of this reluctance seems to be a combination of cost and accessibility and the review is right to focus on these two issues, as well as clarifying the regulatory boundary between guidance and advice.
“This report outlines some ways in which employers might be able to help without causing themselves regulatory risk – for example signposting savers to their own employer scheme offering retirement income products. But it is important to remember that not all employers will have the desire or resources to offer such products within their scheme. What’s really needed is a regulatory regime in which trustees and providers of workplace pensions can confidently signpost savers towards good value, independently-assessed products – either in or out of their own scheme.
“FAMR’s calls for greater affordability and accessibility are welcome but we struggle to see this becoming a reality in the near future, even if savers are allowed to access their pension pots early to pay for advice – the cost of which still represents a big proportion of the average pension pot. An alternative approach is needed to support the great majority of savers who will continue to be excluded from financial advice, particularly when it comes to making decisions about their retirement incomes.”
The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association responded to FAMR’s call for input in December 2015.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
We’re the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association, the national association with a ninety-year history of helping pension professionals run better pension schemes. With the support of over 1,300 pension schemes and over 400 supporting businesses, we are the voice for pensions and lifetime savings in Westminster, Whitehall and Brussels.
Our purpose is simple: to help everyone to achieve a better income in retirement. We work to get more money into retirement savings, to get more value out of those savings and to build the confidence and understanding of savers.
In July 2014 the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association launched a major research series, Understanding Retirement, examining the nature of retirement, its impact on pension savers, pension schemes and other retirement savings as well as employers.