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Advisers issue warning over ‘misleading’ annuity website

Advisers have warned an annuity website risks misleading savers by claiming it offers independent financial advice free of charge.

Non-advised annuity brokers can still receive commission payments from providers post-RDR.

The Open Market Option Annuities website says: “Open Market Option Annuities are independent financial advisers who will act as a broker. You are not tied into us or obligated in any way. You DO NOT have to pay us a fee.

“We receive our payment from the annuity company we select for you. They will pay us commission for recommending them. However, if you go directly to them you will not get a better deal. It just means they will retain all the money themselves.

“By using us you get advice that is paid for by the insurance company. Our costs are already built into the income you are offered by the insurance company.”

The website goes on to explain it can either research the best provider or give advice and guidance if required.

Informed Choice managing director Martin Bamford says: “This site is just plain misleading.

“It is not reasonable to expect all consumers to understand this site is simply harvesting leads to sell on, bumping up the eventual cost for the annuitant.

“The FCA should come down like a ton of bricks on website owners who mislead their users in respect of financial information or advice.”

Wingate Financial Planning director Alistair Cunningham says: “The company should either be offering advice for a fee, or no advice and can receive commission. The website cannot be correct.”

Open Market Option Annuities was unavailable for comment. 

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