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Broker pioneers bulk-buying of pensions on web

Hargreaves Lansdown claims its new online pension bulk-buying service will allow consumers to get better terms.

The broker believes the service is the first of its kind. It works on the same principle used by letsbuyit.com, where individuals register to buy products together.

Hargreaves Lansdown says the facility, which launched this month, allows consumers to benefit from economies of scale normally only available to corporations.

It is also in early negotiations to allow a number of IFAs to “piggy back” on to its service to get better terms for their clients. It says medium-sized IFAs and several accountants have expressed an interest.

Head of e-commerce Mark Rowlands says: “We had not planned to roll it out to IFAs but it might be possible to work on a per-head fee basis.”

The website aims to provide extensive information on pensions, including state pensions and contracting-out.

Consumers are also able to access and compare features, terms and performance both for direct sellers and companies which sell through IFAs.

But Hargreaves Lansdown points out the aim is not to sell pensions without advice.

Rowlands says: “The intention is not to encourage people to buy a pension without speaking to someone first. We have a call centre and offer access to individual financial advice.”

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