GUEST COMMENT: Enhancing financial advice

Written by James Bridge

Financial advice is an essential feature of any healthy, functioning market. The Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR) provides a great opportunity to improve access to financial advice, including for those facing complex retirement choices, those currently not appreciating the impact that ill health could have on finances, and those who underestimate the sustainability of their pension pot.

Improvements to financial advice should be twofold; fee-charging advice should be more attractive and affordable, and information needs to be better for customers who cannot, or do not want to pay for advice.

We have proposed a package of measures to deliver this. Pension Wise could be enhanced, through integration with The Pension Advisory Service and signposting to guidance at age 50.

The service could include an assessment of a consumer’s needs, to be taken to an adviser and therefore reducing the cost of paid-for advice. Providers can also give useful information to customers, but the boundary between regulated advice and information needs to be reviewed. We also need to encourage consumer engagement through development of a Pension Dashboard.

FAMR presents an opportunity to improve access to financial advice and improve the quality of information provided, to help ensure customers make decisions that meet their needs.

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