PI Financial Dixon founder Tim Sutcliffe was sceptical that specialist advice desks give full information but added that things are improving.
He said: “There are a number of annuity desks. My exp- erience is that there are very few that are up to date and properly offering all the options. I would think twice before referring to a supposed specialist but there is an opportunity for those specialists to display all the options properly and, if they do, they may take referrals from a big number of advisers.”
The Retirement Partnership director Steve Lewis warned that advisers must have a common process for each client or they risk breaching TCF principles. He said: “If you have a general practice with an adviser who deals with retirees every two or three months, you have to ensure that individual has a common thought process, a common analysis tool and common communications so a similar solution is reached. This is treating customers fairly.
“There may be times when the adviser should recognise that a client’s circumstances are sophisticated enough to refer to a specialist adviser. Many advisers do not do mortgages, they pass it to a specialist. It should be the same for retirement. Either I do it and I have my process or I give it over to the guy who does know how to do it.”
Hargreaves Lansdown head of pensions research Tom McPhail said: “It is hard for someone who does it only very occasionally to be competent.”
Thinc group director of research David Cartwright said: “It is do-able. You have a structured advice process and if you do three or four a year, you follow the process. I think then you have an audit trail but in some areas it is more difficult.”
Living Time sales and marketing director Dave Harris said: “I would encourage every IFA to get involved and either embrace it themselves or with help from third parties because properly offering all the options can be done more cost-effectively and more easily than they ever thought possible.”