Advisers urge MPs to lay bare regulatory costs

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Advisers want to see MPs shine a light on the performance of Pension Wise and the cost of regulation as part an inquiry into pension guidance and advice.

Last week, Money Marketing revealed the Work and Pensions committee is to probe the quality of the Pension Wise service and the availability and affordability of retirement advice.

In particular, it will hear evidence on the take-up, suitability, affordability and independence of all the advice, guidance and information services available to savers post-pension freedoms.

Aspect8 chartered financial planner Claire Walsh is not sure that consumers are aware the Pension Wise exists.

She says: “Between Citizens Advice, the Money Advice Service and others, there’s so many different points of contact it’s difficult for one to stand out.”

Informed Choice executive director Nick Bamford says: “If one of the concerns the MPs have is that consumers can’t get advice without paying more than £1,000, they need to understand the reason for that cost is regulation.”

Apfa director general Chris Hannant says the trade body will highlight the regulatory cost burden on advisers, and changes that could allow firms to offer more efficient services.

He adds: “Members need to keep feeding in what they are seeing on pension freedoms, as this will be important in shaping our message.”

Hargreaves Lansdown head of pensions research Tom McPhail says MPs also need to look at how the Government is monitoring Pension Wise.

He says: “The Government has not put in place measures to make sure it is closely tracking the impact of the reforms. If I were on that committee I would be asking pretty pointed questions about that.”

As part of the inquiry, MPs plan to call representatives from the Treasury, the FCA, The Pensions Advisory Service, the Association of British Insurers, Citizens Advice, and the FCA Consumer Panel.

The deadline for written evidence is 28 August, with oral evidence sessions expected in September.