The Chancellor announced in the Budget that all retirees would get a session of free face-to-face guidance from April 2015.
Last week, the FCA published guidelines designed to provide clarity on the boundary between advised and non-advised services.
Hargreaves says it does not believe the “guidance guarantee could escape falling within the definition of a regulated activity”.
The firm says this is because it believes the review defines information provision as advice. It adds that it believes the documents define a personal recommendation separately as including a suitability assessment or fact find.
Hargreaves goes on to argue that the FCA’s proposals could see the Money Advice Service and The Pensions Advisory Service become regulated bodies if they are tasked with delivering guidance.
However, it adds that the Treasury could create a carve-out for both “though that might require some delicate handling with the financial services industry.”
But Hargreaves’ says Friday’s paper could bring the issue full-circle, re-defining the guidance as advice.
Head of pensions research Tom McPhail says the FCA’s paper could bring information provision within its definition of advice.
“Advice is the provision of information such as investment research and not necessarily a personal recommendation,” he says. “Where investments are concerned, advice has to be conducted by a company which is regulated and authorised.”
He says it is “possible” the review could mean Hargreaves own investment research is defined as a form of advice.
But the firm argues generic information, although it could be considered advice, would not constitute a personal recommendation as it does not include a suitability assessment or fact find.